Percutaneous ethanol injection

What is Percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI)?

For some time scientists have known that ethanol can kill cancer cells. An injection of ethanol (alcohol) injected directly into a tumour through the skin, can kill cancer cells. The needle is directed into the tumour by Ultrasound or a CT scan. This procedure is also known as Alcohol ablation, ethanol ablation, and PEI.

Percutaneous ethanol injection is the first-choice therapy following a relapse of cystic nodules after surgical removal. Also, it is an effective therapy for patients with nodular lesions that have contraindications for Surgery and others who have a high risk from Surgery.

What types of cancers are treated with Percutaneous ethanol injection?

Sonographically directed Percutaneous ethanol injection therapy is commonly used in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) and thyroid cancer.

How is Percutaneous ethanol injection given?

In this procedure, 100 per cent sterile Alcohol is injected into cancerous growths, or tumours, to destroy cancer cells. Using a very thin needle, the Alcohol is inserted into the tumour (percutaneously) through the skin, using Ultrasound or CT visual guidance. Alcohol induces tumour death by removing water (dehydration) from tumour cells and thereby altering (denaturing) the structure of cellular proteins.

What are the side effects of Percutaneous ethanol injection?

The most common side effect of Alcohol injection in the treatment of Liver Cancer is Alcohol leakage to the liver surface and into the abdominal cavity, causing Pain and fever as a result. It is important to identify the location of the tumour, the adjacent blood vessels and bile ducts. The reason these structures need to be identified is to prevent damaging them during the operation, and cause infection, inflammation of the bile duct, or bile leakage.