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Radiofrequency (RF) ablation has become an accepted treatment modality for unresectable tumors. The need for larger ablation zones has resulted in increased RF generator power. Skin burns due to ground pad heating are increasingly limiting further increases in generator power, and thus, ablation zone size. We investigated a method for reducing ground pad heating in which a commercial ground pad is segmented into multiple ground electrodes, with sequential activation of ground electrode subsets. We created finite-element method computer models of a commercial ground pad (14 times 23 cm) and compared normal operation of a standard pad to sequential activation of a segmented pad (two to five separate ground electrode segments). A constant current of 1 A was applied for 12 min in all simulations. Time periods during sequential activation simulations were adjusted to keep the leading edge temperatures at each ground electrode equal. The maximum temperature using standard activation of the commercial pad was 41.7degC. For sequential activation of a segmented pad, the maximum temperature ranged from 39.3degC (five segments) to 40.9degC (two segments). Sequential activation of a segmented ground pad resulted in lower tissue temperatures. This method may reduce the incidence of ground pad burns and enable the use of higher power generators during RF tumor ablation.