What is Thermal Ablation?
Thermal Ablation is the destruction of cancer by extreme heat or freezing. The most common technique uses radio waves (microwaves) to generate heat. This is the principle behind Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) and Microwave Ablation. The destruction of cancer by freezing is known as Cryoablation.
How are Thermal Ablation procedures performed?
These minimally invasive procedures involve placing a hollow needle into the tumor. The physician guides the placement using image guidance, such as Computed Tomography or Ultrasound. Once the needle is properly placed, heat or cold is applied to the tip of the needle destroying the tumor.
How do I determine if I am a candidate for one of these new treatments?
It is very important to have someone who is experienced in these new procedures evaluate your case. Many patients are turned away from centers before having a proper evaluation. To see if you might be a candidate for one of these cutting edge procedures, call our office at (251) 948-3420.
What are the sizes of tumors that can be treated?
Tumor size usually ranges from 1 to 10 cm.
What tumor locations can be treated with thermal ablation?
The most common locations are lung and liver. In addition certain cancers in the bone, adrenal, breast and kidney can also be treated. We do not treat tumors in the brain or pancreas.
How long does a procedure last?
Generally between 2-4 hours.
Will I be asleep during the procedure?
We use various forms of sedation. Most patients will be in a form of a light sleep. We do not use general anesthesia.
Is the procedure painful?
Sedation is used to help keep the patient comfortable. Generally most patients may be sore for 2-3 days after the procedure. The post-procedure pain is easily treated with pain medicine taken by mouth.
How long will it take for me to recover?
The average recovery is from 3-7 days. Most patients are able to return to light activity within 24 hours. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.
Can I continue chemotherapy and other treatments?
Yes; thermal ablation treatments do not interfere with any other therapies. They actually work to enhance other systemic therapies.
Does insurance cover this procedure?
Insurance coverage varies depending on the insuring company. Though certain insurances have been covering the procedure, there are still many that do not.
To see if you are a candidate for thermal ablation, call our office at (251) 948-3420.