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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.v38.i1.60
pages 65-78

Microwave Tissue Ablation: Biophysics, Technology, and Applications

Christopher L. Brace
University of Wisconsin - Madison, USA

ABSTRACT

Microwave ablation is an emerging treatment option for many cancers, cardiac arrhythmias, and other medical conditions. During treatment, microwaves are applied directly to tissues to produce rapid temperature elevations sufficient to produce immediate coagulative necrosis. The engineering design criteria for each application differ, with individual consideration for factors such as desired ablation zone size, treatment duration, and procedural invasiveness. Recent technological developments in applicator cooling, power control, and system optimization for specific applications promise to increase the utilization of microwave ablation in the future. This article reviews the basic biophysics of microwave tissue heating, provides an overview of the design and operation of current equipment, and outlines areas for future research.