South Florida Interventional Oncology Center  
 
RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION: What is Radiofrequency Ablation?
 
 

Most cancer cells develop in a primary site such as the breast, colon or lung.  Cells from these cancers can spread or metastasize to other parts of the body where they may form new tumors. 

There are two basic strategies to treat cancer. These include local and systemic.  Systemic treatment, chemotherapy, is typically a drug injected into the bloodstream and is carried throughout the body. Local treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, Selective Internal Radiation or chemoembolization (see in other section of web site), and now radiofrequency ablation attack cancer at a specific site. 

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure used to treat a variety of inoperable tumors in a minimally invasive way.  RFA uses energy delivered through a metal probe inserted into a tumor under radiographic guidance. RF energy causes atoms in the cells to vibrate and create friction.  This generates heat leading to death of tumor cells.  The heat generated in tissues treated with RF energy causes permanent damage and destruction of tumor cells. 

 RFA is safe, effective treatment option approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for liver and soft tissue. RFA studies have shown significant benefit for lesions in various locations including liver (primary and secondary) breast (combined with surgery to treat early stage cancers), kidney, lung (predominantly stage I and stage II disease), bone, adrenal and soft tissue. Most importantly, RFA can be an effective treatment for patients whose cancers cannot be treated surgically.  

RFA can be used before during and after surgery, radiation therapy, or in addition systemic treatments. Countless patients with a variety of medical problems have been treated with this technique. 

While patient is asleep RFA probe is placed in the lesion through the skin under image guidance. The lesion is heated using a generator attached to the probe and the lesion is destroyed