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Radiofrequency ablation of chondroblastoma using a multi-tined expandable electrode system: initial results

      The standard treatment for chondroblastoma is surgery, which can be difficult and disabling due to its apo- or epiphyseal location. Radiofrequency (RF) ablation potentially offers a minimally invasive alternative. The often large size of chondroblastomas can make treatment with plain electrode systems difficult or impossible. This article describes the preliminary experience of RF treatment of chondroblastomas with a multi-tined expandable RF electrode system. Four cases of CT-guided RF treatment are described. The tumor was successfully treated in all but two cases, wherein complications occurred: infraction of a subarticular chondroblastoma in one case and cartilage and bone damage in the unaffected compartment of a knee joint in the other. RF treatment near a joint surface threatens the integrity of cartilage and, therefore, long-term joint function. In weight-bearing areas, the lack of bone replacement in successfully treated lesions contributes to the risk of mechanical failure. Multi-tined expandable electrode systems allow the treatment of large chondroblastomas. In weight-bearing joints and lesions near the articular cartilage, there is a risk of cartilage damage and mechanical weakening of the bone. In lesions without these caveats, RF ablation appears promising. The potential risks and benefits need to be evaluated for each case individually.
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