Development of an In Vivo Tumor-Mimic Model for Learning Radiofrequency Ablation

Daniel J Scott, William N. Young, Lori M Watumull, Guy Lindberg, Jason B. Fleming, Robert V Rege, Ron J. Brown, Daniel B. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Radiofrequency ablation requires accurate probe placement using ultrasound guidance. The purpose of this study was to develop an in vivo tumor-mimic model for learning open and laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation. Tumor-mimics were created in ex vivo porcine livers by injecting a mixture of 3% agarose, 3% cellulose, 7% glycerol, and 0.05% methylene blue, which formed 1 cm hyperechoic, discrete lesions on ultrasound. Open and laparoscopic (using a box-trainer) ablation techniques were practiced. In vivo experiments were then conducted in 10 pigs. Three tumor-mimics were created in each animal using a laparoscopic approach. Lesions were characterized sonographically, ablated using an open (n = 5) or laparoscopic (n = 5) approach, and examined pathologically. An ablation in normal liver tissue was performed as a control. Tissue impedance was recorded. Target creation took 81 minutes per animal and 96% of injections were successful. Tissue impedance (48.8 ± 5.8 vs. 49.6 ± 5.4) and ablation size (25.1 ± 3.4 vs. 24.3 ± 5.1) were not significantly different for controls (n = 8) and tumor-mimics (n = 26), respectively. One animal died of a pulmonary embolism following injection of agarose into a hepatic vein. The agarose-based tissue-mimic creates realistic sonographic targets for learning ultrasound-guided open and laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation in an in vivo model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-625
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000


  • Laparoscopy
  • Liver surgery
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Tumor-mimic
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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