The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Irreversible electroporation for the treatment of liver metastases.
Electroporation is a tissue ablative procedure that uses an electric field to open pores in the cell membrane. Irreversible electroporation is the stage at which the electric field has been applied with sufficient amplitude and duration to cause permanent damage to the cell membrane and thus cell death.
Under general anaesthesia and with imaging guidance, needle-electrodes are passed directly through the skin into the target tumour. Up to six single use disposable needles are placed at a fixed distance apart in the target lesion. A series of very short electrical field pulses are delivered over several minutes to ablate the tumour and a small surrounding tissue margin.