The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on microwave ablation of hepatocellular carcinoma.


Microwave ablation is a process that uses microwave energy to kill cells. When it is used in the treatment of liver cancer, the energy is applied directly to the tumour through a special needle; the heat from the microwaves destroys the cancer cells.

Coding recommendations

Open procedure:

J03.2 Destruction of lesion of liver NEC

Y13.7 Microwave destruction of lesion of organ NOC

 Percutaneous procedure:

J12.7 Percutaneous microwave ablation of lesion of liver

 Laparoscopic procedure:

J08.3 Endoscopic microwave ablation of lesion of liver using laparoscope

Note: A code from category Y53.- Approach to organ under image control may also be assigned to these procedures if image control has been used. Codes in category Y53.- are used as secondary codes. 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 C22.0 Liver cell carcinoma or C78.7 Secondary malignant neoplasm of liver and intrahepatic bile duct would be recorded.

Your responsibility

This guidance represents the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account. However, the guidance does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the guidance, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this guidance should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.