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.

Coding recommendations

Percutaneous approach with image guidance:

J12.8 Other specified other therapeutic percutaneous operations on liver
Y12.3 Electrochemotherapy to lesion of organ NOC
Y53.- Approach to organ under image control

In addition ICD-10 code C78.7 Secondary malignant neoplasm of liver and intrahepatic bile duct is assigned.
The NHS Classifications Service has advised NICE that currently these are the most suitable OPCS-4 codes to describe this procedure. The OPCS-4 classification is designed to categorise procedures for analysis and it is not always possible to identify a procedure uniquely.

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