Non-operable malignant tumors of the liver can be treated percutaneously using a variety of techniques and devices. Most commonly the percutaneous puncture is performed with a needle directly into the lesion and absolute alcohol is injected to promote necrosis of the tumor tissue. Alternative treatments uses a probe that delivers radio frequency energy into the tumor, literally cooking the tumor and promoting death of the cancer cells. Cryoprobes can also be used to freeze the lesions promoting necrosis as well. In most cases the treatment is palliative but occasional cures may be observed.
Possible complications of the procedure are intra-abdominal bleeding, pain and infection, but are uncommon.