Clinical experience with cryosurgery for advanced hepatobiliary tumors

Fadi F. Haddad, William C. Chapman, J. Kelly Wright, Taylor K. Blair, C. Wright Pinson

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49 Scopus citations


Introduction. There have been reports that suggest cryosurgical techniques may be a useful adjunct to surgical resection or even a viable alternative treatment for hepatobiliary malignancies. Our objective was to evaluate the clinical results following cryoablation in conjunction with surgical resection for advanced hepatic tumors. Materials and methods. Thirty-two consecutive procedures in 31 patients with advanced liver tumors treated with cryosurgical ablation were evaluated. Cryosurgery was applied: (1) to achieve a >1-cm tumor-free margin when standard surgical margins were close (2) with or without standard surgical resection to manage multiple tumors (3) with hepatic arterial portocath placement to increase tumor response. Cryoablation was applied to 47 of 105 lesions - independently in 4 patients and in combination with hepatic resection in 28 procedures. Results. Cryoablation was used in 11 procedures because of close surgical margins. In 21 operations cryosurgery was used for primary ablation. In 17 of these 21 patients both cryosurgery and resection were used for different lesions; in 4 cryosurgery alone was used. Transient changes in hepatic enzymes, PT, PTT, and platelets were at maximum on Postoperative Days 1-3. Surgical mortality and morbidity rates were 6 and 60%, respectively. Coagulation abnormalities were common: at least 30% reduction in platelets occurred in all patients and greater than a 50% reduction occurred in 19 of 32 (59%). Twenty patients had a PT >15 s and 6 of these 20 also had a platelet count <50,000. Associated complications included one wound hematoma, two GI hemorrhages, one intracranial hemorrhage, and one hepatic hemorrhage from the cryosurgical site. The actuarial patient survivals were 90, 59, 33, and 22% at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months, respectively. Conclusions. This report helps define the risks and results of cryosurgical ablation as a complement to surgical resection for advanced hepatobiliary tumors. Management of lesions contiguous to major blood vessels may include either the Pringle maneuver or total vascular isolation. Since these procedures can have significant morbidity, we urge cautious application of cryosurgery for advanced hepatobiliary tumors in selected otherwise unresectable patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1998


  • Coagulopathy
  • Cryosurgery
  • Hepatic tumors
  • Intraoperative ultrasound


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