Shape-shifting thermal coagulation zone during saline-infused radiofrequency ablation: A computational study on the effects of different infusion location

Antony S.K. Kho, Ji J. Foo, Ean T. Ooi, Ean H. Ooi

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objective: The majority of the studies on radiofrequency ablation (RFA) have focused on enlarging the size of the coagulation zone. An aspect that is crucial but often overlooked is the shape of the coagulation zone. The shape is crucial because the majority of tumours are irregularly-shaped. In this paper, the ability to manipulate the shape of the coagulation zone following saline-infused RFA by altering the location of saline infusion is explored. Methods: A 3D model of the liver tissue was developed. Saline infusion was described using the dual porosity model, while RFA was described using the electrostatic and bioheat transfer equations. Three infusion locations were investigated, namely at the proximal end, the middle and the distal end of the electrode. Investigations were carried out numerically using the finite element method. Results: Results indicated that greater thermal coagulation was found in the region of tissue occupied by the saline bolus. Infusion at the middle of the electrode led to the largest coagulation volume followed by infusion at the proximal and distal ends. It was also found that the ability to delay roll-off, as commonly associated with saline-infused RFA, was true only for the case when infusion is carried out at the middle. When infused at the proximal and distal ends, the occurrence of roll-off was advanced. This may be due to the rapid and more intense heating experienced by the tissue when infusion is carried out at the electrode ends where Joule heating is dominant. Conclusion: Altering the location of saline infusion can influence the shape of the coagulation zone following saline-infused RFA. The ability to ‘shift’ the coagulation zone to a desired location opens up great opportunities for the development of more precise saline-infused RFA treatment that targets specific regions within the tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105289
Number of pages14
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Cancer treatment
  • Computational modelling
  • Joule heating
  • RFA
  • Thermal ablation

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