"Through the skin" (percutaneous) ethanol injection involves injecting 95% ethanol by a fine needle into the neuroendocrine liver metastasis. The patient receives short-term anesthesia. Ultrasound or CT is used to monitor the needle as it is placed safely into the tumor; open abdominal surgery or key-hole surgery is not required. The tumor tissue dies off due to the toxic effects of the 95% alcohol (ethanol). The surrounding liver tissue is hardly damaged. Treatment is usually carried out in multiple sessions that are several weeks apart. It can easily be combined with other methods of treatment. Due to its low cost this method is primarily used in countries and health care systems with limited financial resources. In Western countries ethanol injection (or acetic acid injection) is used only for small (< 2 cm) neuroendocrine metastases as an alternative to radiofrequency-induced thermoablation.

Figure 12: Ethanol injection into a liver tumor

figure 12

Modified from Scherübl et al., Patientenbroschüre Falkfoundation 2012

Prof. Dr. med. Hans Scherübl


Center of Neuroendocrine Tumors
Prof. Dr. med. Hans Scherübl
Vivantes Klinikum Am Urban
Academic Teaching Hospital of Charité-University Medicine, Berlin
Dieffenbachstraße 1
10967 Berlin, Germany
Tel: + 49 30 130 225201
Fax: + 49 30 130 225205
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