Percutaneous ethanol (alcohol) injections are used in patients with fewer than three Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) tumors which are less than 3cm in diameter, well defined, not near the surface of the liver and surrounded by a shell consisting of scar tissue.
Patients should have no signs of chronic liver failure like jaundice or ascites because they are not able to tolerate the alcohol injections.
Using this method, pure alcohol is injected into liver cancers to kill the cancer cells with a very thin needle guided with the help of ultrasound or CT visual guidance because alcohol withdraws water from the tumor cells. To completely destroy cancer, the patient must receive five or six sessions of injections.
The most common side effects of alcohol injection are pain and fever because alcohol leaks onto the surface of the liver and into the abdominal cavity.