Liver tumour ablation using radiofrequencies (RF Ablation) and microwaves (MW Ablation)
Percutaneous – i.e. without ‘open’ surgery – ablation of liver tumours is a relatively new and extremely specialised treatment method.
Treatment with radiofrequency (RF Ablation) or microwave (MWAblation) ablation is performed using axial tomography: the patient lies on the tomography device platform so that the tumour may be located. Then a needle is inserted percutaneously, through which radiofrequencies are applied onto the tumour; due to the high temperatures developed, the result is controlled tumour coagulative necrosis.
This is a local, non-surgical treatment method, which thermally destroys cancer cells, while preserving adjacent healthy liver tissues. Furthermore, this method is easier for patients, as compared to systemic treatment, since it does not affect their general health status and allows patients to return to their daily activities within a few days.
This treatment method is minimally invasive and, therefore, a very useful tool for local control of liver tumours; it offers minimal mortality rates, short hospitalisation and significantly reduces pain, thus warranting better quality of life for patients.
What patient cases it is used for:
There are cases with concomitant medical problems that render them essentially inoperable. For these patients, percutaneous tumour resection is the only treatment choice.
The method is also used in patients with advanced cancer who do not respond to chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
In patients with limited metastatic disease there mayalso be numerous reasons that do not allow surgery and these cases often present a medical problem.
All such patient groups are good candidates for percutaneous tumour ablation. Each ablation lasts for an average of 12 minutes. The duration of every session ranges from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on the size, location, and number of lesions needing ablation.