Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive technique used to treat cancer. Using fluoroscopy, ultrasounds, CT scans or MRIs to help guide a needle electrode into a cancerous tumor, high-frequency currents are passed through the electrode to create heat that destroys cancer cells.

In general, RFA is most effective in treating tumors that are less than 1.5 inches in diameter. It may also be used in addition to chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or as an alternative to surgical treatment.

What Are Common Uses of RFA?
Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat many types of cancer, including:

  • Liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Colon cancer that metastasizes or spreads from the colon to the liver
  • Kidney cancer

Radiofrequency ablation is a viable and effective treatment option if you:

  • Are not a good candidate for surgery because your tumor is difficult to reach.
  • Have other medical conditions that make surgery especially risky.
  • Have several small liver tumors that are too spread out to be removed surgically.

How It Works
Specially trained interventional radiologists most often perform image-guided, minimally invasive procedures such as radiofrequency ablation. RFA at Gwinnett Medical Center is often done on an outpatient basis.

What Are the Benefits?

  • Radiofrequency ablation can be an effective treatment for primary liver cancer and for cancers that have spread to the liver in select patients.
  • In most studies, more than half of the liver tumors treated by radiofrequency ablation have not recurred. The success rate for completely eliminating small liver tumors is greater than 85%.
  • Treatment-related complications are infrequent and discomfort is minimal.
  • Radiofrequency ablation may be used repeatedly to treat recurrent liver tumors.
  • The percutaneous method of radiofrequency ablation, in which electrodes are inserted through the skin, is minimally invasive, produces few complications, and does not require hospital admission.
  • RFA is a relatively quick procedure and recovery is rapid, so chemotherapy can be resumed almost immediately in patients who need it.
  • Radiofrequency ablation is less expensive than other treatment options.
  • No surgical incision is needed, only a small nick in the skin that does not have to be stitched closed.

Call 678-312-3444 to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations in Lawrenceville, Duluth or Hamilton Mill.