Rate of perioperative complications in thermal ablation of bone: an animal trial

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IntroductionWhile only few data are available yet for radioablation of bone tissue, the occurrence of bone marrow embolisms during cryoablation has been documented. It was the aim of this study to assess perioperative complication rates of thermoablation in animals using state-of-the-art ablation probes.Materials and methodsEight adult sheep were placed under general anaesthesia, and using a radioprobe, thermoablation was performed on the medial side of the head of the right tibia. In addition, freezing was performed with miniature cryoprobes on both femurs and the head of the left tibia. Haemodynamic monitoring and determination of blood gases and electrolytes were done intraoperatively. The animals were killed 1 week after surgery, and the ablation sites and lung tissue examined macroscopically and microscopically.ResultsNone of the animals showed pathological changes in any of these parameters. Blood gases remained unremarkable throughout the operation. All eight animals showed an average drop in haemoglobin of 0.97 g/100 ml. Two animals showed fresh embolisms in the pulmonary vessels.ConclusionExperimental thermoablation of bone tissue in large animals failed to show any significant perioperative complications following surgery. The lung embolisms which did occur were not clinically relevant. The use of mini-cryoprobes or radioprobes as alternative or complementary measures for treating pathologically altered bone tissue seems viable and does not involve any undue risks.

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