Radiofrequency ablation is an available option for treatment of liver tumors that cannot be removed from the body.

Surgeon first since surgical removal of the tumor is the best approach.

Removal of cancer of the liver by surgical means is the treatment of choice. In many patients surgery is not possible because of the extent of the tumor or the presence of cirrhosis that poses an excessive risk of liver failure after the surgery. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure used to destroy (kill) liver cancer.

RFA is frequently an option in patients in whom surgical removal of the tumor is not an option. Radiofrequency ablation is a safe and well tolerated procedure that is associated with few complications.

All patients being considered for RFA should be evaluated by an experienced liver.

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation begins with the passing of alternating electrical current (radiofrequency energy) through the tumor tissue (lesion). Heat is generated at the site of the lesion by this alternating current. This heat produces coagulation and cellular destruction (necrosis or death), resulting in ablation (destruction) of the tumor tissue. With the newer RFA devices the thermal energy (heat) is evenly distributed to the lesion in a consistent manner, causing consistent and complete tumor cell destruction.

How does it work?

Using Intraoperative imaging of the tumor with ultrasound, an electrode is positioned strategically within the lesion. Then, the electrode is connected to a unique radiofrequency generator and electrical current is delivered into the tissue. As the cells are heated, they are destroyed. The mechanism of RFA is similar to that of a microwave oven, heating from the inside out. The body eliminates the destroyed tumor cells over a period of time.

RFA can be used simultaneously with surgery as well as repeated multiple times if necessary. Ask your surgeon for more details.