Evaluation of Temperature Rise and Thermal Lesion Dimensions in Liver Laser Interstitial Thermotherapy

Document Type : Original Paper


1 M.Sc. in Medical Physics, Medical Physics Dept., Tarbiat Modarres University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Medical Physics Dept., Tarbiat Modarres University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Associate Professor, Radiology Dept., Tehran Medical Sciences University, Tehran, Iran.


Introduction:  Laser  interstitial  thermotherapy  (LITT)  is  an  internal  ablation  therapy  method 
consisting of a percutaneous or intraoperative insertion of laser fibers directly into the liver tumor with 
maximum diameter of 5 cm. In this treatment method, there isn’t any general information about the 
relationship  between  increasing  the  exposure  power,  coagulation  and  carbonization  areas  with  the 
changes  in  temperature.  In  this  study,  according  to  the  power  range  of  LITT  the  changes  in  the 
temperature of liver tissue and the diameter of the necrotic area were measured.  
Materials and Methods: In vitro LITT was performed on fleshly sheep liver tissue using a bare-tip 
optical  fiber  from  a  Nd:Yag  laser.  A  power  setting  of  2,  2.4,  3,  3.4,  and  4  watt  were  used  for  an 
exposure time of 300 sec. The temperature monitoring was performed during the heating and cooling 
down by fixing micro thermocouples at 2.5 mm from the fiber tip. The thermal lesions which include 
necrosis and carbonization areas were compared for each power.  
Results: The result of the temperature monitoring was expressed as the mean value for each power. 
The temperature charts show that at 2.5 mm from the fiber tip the max. tissue temperature is increased 
from 276.20 ºC (for a power setting of 2 watt and a 308 sec of exposure time) to 728.2 ºC (for a power 
setting of 3.4 watt and a 365 sec exposure time). At 6 mm from the fiber tip the max. temperature was 
measured to be 86.4 ºC for  a power setting of 4 watt and 325 sec exposure time. For each power a non 
linear  regression  analysis  was  performed  during  the  heating  and  cooling  down  for  the  dependent 
(temperature) and independent (time) parameters. The max. value for the cubic equation is shown to be 
R = 0.99 during the heating and for the exponential equation to be R = 0.89 during the cooling down. 
A p value of 0.01 is considered significant. The diameter of the necrotic liver tissue increases from 
12.95  mm  at  600  joules  to  16.15  mm  at  1200  joules  of  energy.  When  the  total  applied  energy  is 
increased  from  600  to  1200  joules,  the  thermal  ablation  increased  by  25%  while  there  was  a  56% 
increase  in  the  carbonization  area.    Increasing  the  carbonization  area  caused  a  decreases  in  the 
penetrability of the laser beam.  
Discussion and Conclusion: A useful treatment planning based on a non-linear regression analysis 
could  be  prepared  for  the  treatment  of  hepatocellular  carcinoma.  In  this  analysis,  the  temperature 
changes in the necrotic area are monitored as a function of power setting in the range of 2-4 watts in 


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