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Percuataneous ethanol injection (PEI) is used as an alternative to liver resection when an individual has a single localized mass or several small tumors. Pure alcohol (i.e., ethanol) is injected into the tumor bed to block blood flow to the cancer.
How is percutaneous alcohol injection done and how does it work?
In this technique, pure alcohol is injected into liver cancers to kill the cancer cells. The alcohol is injected through the skin (percutaneously) into the tumor using a very thin needle with the help of ultrasound or CT visual guidance. Alcohol induces tumor destruction by drawing water out of tumor cells (dehydrating them) and thereby altering (denaturing) the structure of cellular proteins.It may take up to five or six sessions of injections to completely destroy the cancer. Which patients are treated with percutaneous alcohol injection? The ideal patient for alcohol injection has fewer than three Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) tumors, each of which is:
well defined (distinct margins)
less than 3cm in diameter
surrounded by a shell consisting of scar tissue (fibrous encapsulation)