To evaluate the complications of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) in patients with hepatic and pancreatic cancer.
From January 2006 to December 2008, 133 sessions of HIFU treatment were performed in 114 consecutive patients with primary hepatic tumor (n = 57), hepatic metastasis (n = 22), and pancreatic cancer (n = 35) under general anesthesia. The extracorporeal, ultrasound-guided Model-JC system (HAIFU, Chongqing, China) was used. Artificial pleural effusion was created to obtain an adequate sonographic window for ablating hepatic dome masses in 53 patients. We reviewed medical records and imaging findings before, during, and after HIFU.
All patients had skin redness, edema, and pain in the treatment regions. All hepatic tumor patients had necrosis of the ribs along the main ultrasound beam path that did not require further treatment. Major complications included biliary obstruction, symptomatic pleural effusion, pneumothorax and fistula formation between an abdominal wall abscess and the ablated hepatic tumor. In 35 pancreatic cancer patients, major complications included third-degree burns and fistula formation between the tumor and duodenum. Delayed complications in hepatic tumor patients included a diaphragmatic rupture and rib fractures along the ultrasound pathway.
The complications of HIFU develop mainly around the targeted lesions or along the ultrasound beam pathway. It is essential to have awareness of the possible complications related to HIFU and its imaging features for to avoiding serious complications.