ablation (RFA) is used on patients with inoperable primary or metastatic
liver lesions. Generally the lesions must be limited to the liver, although
RFA may be used for relief of symptoms in patients with disease outside
the liver. The ideal patient for RFA generally will have no more than
three lesions that are no greater than 4 cm (about 1 ½ inch)
in size. Based on review of the CT scan, the doctor will decide if it
RFA is the appropriate treatment.
(RF) is electrical energy that is used to create heat in a specific
location, for a specific period of time. The result is destruction or
death of liver lesions. RF has been used in medical procedures for decades.
The procedure can be performed percutaneously (inserting the probe through
a large needle through the skin), or laparoscopically (using a scope
inserted through a small incision), or in an open surgical procedure.
Using ultrasound or CT to guide the instruments, the RFA probe is placed
directly into the lesion. The lesion is heated to temperatures above
113 degrees F, causing lesion destruction without sacrificing normal
a safe, well-tolerated, and effective procedure to achieve lesion destruction
in patients with inoperable liver lesions. There are a few reported
complications. Many patients will experience low-grade fevers for a
few days following the procedure. There is a very low risk of infection
(abcess), bleeding, collapse of the lung, abnormal heart rhythms, and
Time and Lifestyle Changes
on the method used, recovery time will differ. If the percutaneous method
is used, the patient is often able to go home that same day. With laparoscopic
RFA, patients generally go home the next day. In an open approach an
incision is made, general anesthesia is needed and the recovery period
is a bit longer.
RFA is combined with other therapies, such as chemotherapy. The choice
of continued therapy after RFA depends on several conditions, and should
be discussed with the doctor.
to an article published in the Annals of Surgery, a post-procedure study
of 181 ablated lesions revealed only 22 lesions with signs of recurrence
within the first six months(or a 12% local failure rate). No procedural
related deaths occurred and there were no observed complications requiring
treatment. All of the ablated lesions were completely necrotic (dead)
on imaging studies immediately after completion of RFA procedures, concluding
that RFA is a safe, well-tolerated and effective procedure to achieve
lesion destruction in patients with inoperable liver lesions.
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| Last modified: Friday, October 10, 2003