Percutaneous ablation of bone tumors.

Research paper by F F Deschamps, G G Farouil, T T de Baere

Indexed on: 16 Jul '14Published on: 16 Jul '14Published in: Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging


Percutaneous ablation (radiofrequency or cryotherapy) of bone tumors is most often performed for palliative purposes. Many studies have shown that percutaneous ablation of a painful bone metastasis can significantly and sustainably reduce symptoms. It is therefore an alternative to radiotherapy and to long-term opiates. Percutaneous ablation can also be performed for curative purposes. In this situation, its efficacy has however only been studied to a very small extent (apart from radiofrequency ablation of osteoid osteomas in which the success rate is almost 100%). In our experience, the success rate after radiofrequency ablation of a bone metastasis is 75% if it is less than 3cm in diameter and fall significantly over this (to 40%, P=0.04). This treatment can therefore be justified in oligometastatic patients whose disease is progressing slowly. Its benefit on survival has however not been assessed in this selected population. Whether it is performed for palliative or curative reasons, percutaneous ablation should ideally be followed by an injection of cement if the metastasis being treated is lytic and located in a bone, which is subject to mechanical forces. The aim of consolidating cementoplasty is to counterbalance the additional risk of fracture due to destruction of the percutaneously ablated bone.