Percutaneous Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure

About the Percutaneous Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure

Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation is a new way to treat some tumors. Percutaneous means through the skin. Radiofrequency refers to the radio waves used in this treatment. Ablation means tissue destruction. Radio waves create heat to destroy the tumor.

Using ultrasound or CAT scan guidance, the radiologist puts a probe through the skin and directly into the tumor. The radio waves create heat in the tissue and the heat kills the cells in a small area around the probe.

Each RF ablation treatment is unique. The location, type and size of the tumor, as well as history of chemotherapy or radiation are taken into account. RF treatment can be performed for some liver tumors; cancers that have spread to the bones causing bone pain; as well as some lung and kidney tumors.

During Your RF Ablation Treatment:
Prior to the procedure, you will be required to have current blood work, an EKG, and a Chest X-ray. The procedure is performed with CT guidance in the Radiology department. You will be admitted through the Same Day Stay Unit the morning of your procedure and stay overnight. You will meet an Anesthesiologist prior to your procedure who will keep you sedated.

After Your RF Ablation Treatment:
Post-procedure side effects are often due to anesthesia rather than the procedure. Mild flu-like symptoms with low grade fever and muscle aches may occur in about one-third of patients who have RF ablation. Symptoms may last three to five days following ablation of a liver tumor. Occasionally following a liver ablation, some people may feel pain in another part of their body, such as the shoulder. Minor discomfort at the ablation site is common and can be relieved with pain medication.

Potential Risks:
Complications from RF ablation are uncommon, occurring in about 5 percent or less of patients. There is a small risk of infection at the insertion site that can be treated with antibiotics. There is a minor risk of lung collapse if the tumor being treated is in the lung or liver.

Care Locations

  • Jersey Shore University Medical Center, 1945 Route 33, Neptune, NJ 07753

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