The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Radiofrequency ablation for the treatment of colorectal liver metastases.

It replaces the previous guidance on Radiofrequency ablation for the treatment of colorectal metastases in the liver (Interventional Procedures Guidance no. 92, September 2004).  

  • Description

    Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the bowel (including the colon and rectum). In some patients, cancer cells could spread from the bowel to other parts of the body to form one or more ‘secondary tumours’, also known as ‘metastases’. For bowel cancer, most commonly secondary tumours occur in the liver.

    Radiofrequency ablation uses heat to destroy cancer cells in the liver. It involves placing one or more electrodes into the tumour. The electrodes are used to heat the tumour with the aim of destroying it. Radiofrequency ablation can be applied through the skin or during surgery.

  • OPCS4.6 Code(s)

    J12.4 Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of lesion of liver

    Y53.- Approach to organ under image control

    Note: Codes within category Y53.-  are used as secondary codes to classify interventions that are percutaneous and require some form of image control: if the method of image control is unspecified, Y53.9 Unspecified approach to organ under image control is assigned.

    In addition the ICD-10 code C78.7 Secondary malignant neoplasm of liver and intrahepatic bile duct and a code from category C18.- Malignant neoplasm of colon would be recorded.


    The NHS Classifications Service of NHS Connecting for Health is the central definitive source for clinical coding guidance and determines the coding standards associated with the classifications (OPCS-4 and ICD-10) to be used across the NHS.   The NHS Classifications Service and NICE work collaboratively to ensure the most appropriate classification codes are provided.

  • Get involved