PloS one

The Effects of Irreversible Electroporation on the Achilles Tendon: An Experimental Study in a Rabbit Model.

PMID 26114962


To evaluate the potential effects of irreversible electroporation ablation on the Achilles tendon in a rabbit model and to compare the histopathological and biomechanical changes between specimens following electroporation ablation and radiofrequency ablation. A total of 140 six-month-old male New Zealand rabbits were used. The animals were randomly divided into two groups, 70 in the radiofrequency ablation group and 70 in the electroporation group. In situ ablations were applied directly to the Achilles tendons of rabbits using typical electroporation (1800 V/cm, 90 pulses) and radiofrequency ablation (power control mode) protocols. Histopathological and biomechanical evaluations were performed to examine the effects of electroporation ablation and radiofrequency ablation over time. Both electroporation and radiofrequency ablation produced complete cell ablation in the target region. Thermal damage resulted in tendon rupture 3 days post radiofrequency ablation. In contrast, electroporation-ablated Achilles tendons preserved their biomechanical properties and showed no detectable rupture at this time point. The electroporation-ablated tendons exhibited signs of recovery, including tenoblast regeneration and angiogenesis within 2 weeks, and the restoration of their integral structure was evident within 12 weeks. When applying electroporation to ablate solid tumors, major advantage could be that collateral damage to adjacent tendons or ligaments is minimized due to the unique ability of electroporation ablation to target the cell membrane. This advantage could have a significant impact on the field of tumor ablation near vital tendons or ligaments.