Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and feasibility of a real-time integrated system with computed tomography (CT) and sonographic images for radiofrequency (RF) ablation of hepatic malignancies poorly defined on B-mode sonography, and to clarify the suitable phase of CT images for using this virtual sonography. Methods: Between September 2004 and December 2004, 12 patients with 16 hepatocellular carcinomas and two metastatic lesions arising from colorectal adenocarcinoma (n = 1) and rectal carcinoid (n = 1) were treated. The maximum diameter of nodules ranged from 1.0 to 2.5 cm (mean ± SD; 1.5 ± 0.6 cm) on CT images. Results: Complete tumor necrosis was achieved in a single session in 19 lesions (90%), while a second session was required for the remaining two lesions (10%). Portal phase multi-planar reconstruction images were displayed under a suitable position corresponding to the ultrasound images in 9 patients (HCC = 7, metastasis = 2), and arterial phase multi-planar reconstruction images were displayed in the 3 remaining patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Conclusion: Percutaneous RF ablation guidance using virtual sonography is an effective treatment for patients with hepatic malignancies. The portal phase of CT images may be the most suitable to indicate the 3-dimensional relationship between the liver vasculature and tumors on virtual sonography.

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