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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.243 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.v35.i1-2.20
pages 37-121

Thermal Therapy, Part III: Ablation Techniques

Riadh W. Y. Habash
McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Institute of Population Health/School of Information Technology and Engineering, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Rajeev Bansal
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Connecticut, Connecticut, USA
Daniel Krewski
McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Hafid T. Alhafid
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Al Ghurair University, Dubai, UAE; and McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT

Ablative treatments are gaining increasing attention as an alternative to standard surgical therapies, especially for patients with contraindication or those who refuse open surgery. Thermal ablation is used in clinical applications mainly for treating heart arrhythmias, benign prostate hyperplasia, and nonoperable liver tumors; there is also increasing application to other organ sites, including the kidney, lung, and brain. Potential benefits of thermal ablation include reduced morbidity and mortality in comparison with standard surgical resection and the ability to treat nonsurgical patients. The purpose of this review is to outline and discuss the engineering principles and biological responses by which thermal ablation techniques can provide elevation of temperature in organs within the human body. Because of the individual problems associated with each type of treatment, a wide range of ablation techniques have evolved including cryoablation as well as ultrasound, radiofrequency (RF), microwave, and laser ablation. Aspects of each ablation technique, including mechanisms of action, equipment required, selection of eligible patients, treatment techniques, and patient outcomes are presented, along with a discussion of limitations of the techniques and future research directions.