What is percutaneous ablation?
Our high resolution imaging technology enables visualization of the tumor and accurate placement of the ablation probes without the need for surgical incision. There are different methods of ablation including cryo, microwave and radiofrequency ablation.
What is cryoablation?
Cryoablation uses extremely cold temperatures to kill cancer cells. Doctors started using it to treat small kidney cancer tumors as early as 1999, and the results have been extremely impressive. To treat a patient with cryoablation, doctors create ice using specially designed probes, through which compressed gas is circulated. The ice is very precisely shaped and positioned by the doctor to freeze the tumor and destroy all of the cancerous tissue within the kidney, while healthy tissue and surrounding organs are protected.
What is microwave ablation?
A new technology, microwave ablation (MWA), destroys liver tumors using heat generated by microwave energy. With microwave ablation, the interventional radiologist inserts a small needle through the skin and into the tumor using CT or ultrasonic guidance to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor. Unlike the procedure done by a surgeon, this does not require an open incision to access the tumor. The probe produces intense heat that ablates (destroys) tumor tissue, often within 10 minutes.
What types of tumors can be ablated?
Any type of tumor can be ablated. However, large tumors or tumors next to vital structures may not be a candidate for this type of treatment.
What are the benefits of percutaneous ablation over surgery or open ablation?
- Minimally invasive – less invasive than standard or laparoscopic ablation
- A treatment that demonstrated 95%effectiveness in targeted tumors
- Tissue-sparing treatment (targets mostly tumor tissue)
- Clinical data supports safety and effectiveness
- Decreased blood loss versus surgery (including laparoscopic surgery)
- Performed on an outpatient basis or requiring just one overnight stay
- Shorter recovery time
- Can be used when other treatments, such as prior surgery, have failed
- May be suitable for patients who cannot tolerate general anesthesia
- Lower morbidity (side effects)
- Can be repeated, should the cancer returns
- Multiple tumors can be treated in one session
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure length will vary according to the size and location of the tumor, but usually lasts about one hour.
How long will I need to stay in the hospital?
Some cases are done on an outpatient basis, meaning you do not need to stay in the hospital overnight. Other doctors prefer their patients to stay in overnight (depending on other associated conditions). Your doctor will want to make sure that you are eating, drinking and comfortable before you leave the hospital.
How long before I can return to work and other activities?
Your doctor will advise you on when it is sensible for you to return to work and resume other activities since this will depend on your general health and the work you do. Usually, patients are back to their normal day-to-day activities within two weeks of the procedure – often sooner.
The above information is not all inclusive of the risks, alternatives and benefits. It is not meant to be a substitute for informed discussion between you and your doctor, but can act as a starting point for such a discussion. There are complications possible with any medical procedure. Overall, minimally invasive procedures have a lower complication rate than open surgeries.