What is Percutaneous Ablation Therapy?
Percutaneous Ablation Therapy is a procedure that presents a minimally-invasive approach to destroying inoperable or metastasized tumors. This procedure is routinely used to treat tumors in the lung, kidney, bones and liver. It is an important treatment in the fight against small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) because fewer than 40% of patients are candidates for surgical treatment, and recurrence of tumors after surgery is high. Percutaneous ablation offers a local treatment option to supplement systemic therapy that has few complications and is appreciated by patients because they can often go home the same day or after an overnight hospital stay.
Percutaneous Ablation Therapy >>
Emprint Ablation Systems >>
The goal of ablation therapy is to destroy individual tumors that cannot be easily excised via traditional surgical methods.
Treatment is limited to the areas of the tumor, sparing the rest of the liver and reducing possible complications or side effects. MTV IR interventional radiologists focus on treatment of small (3 to 5 cm.) tumors, and small numbers of them. In the procedure, a tiny needle is inserted into the tumor, guided precisely into place by ultrasound or CT scanning.
Once the percutaneous needle is in place, destruction of the tumor is most often achieved by thermal ablation – microwave or radiofrequency – to expose cancerous tissues to high temperatures for several minutes. There are other techniques of percutaneous ablation, in which killing of the tumor is achieved by cryoablation (reducing the tumor to subzero temperatures using liquid nitrogen), or percutaneous ethanol installation (in which alcohol is injected directed into the tumor). Depending on the number of tumors being treated, a combination of these techniques may be used.
The use of percutaneous ablation is appropriate in the following cases:
- Early stage HCC – small tumors with disease limited to the liver
- Inoperable primary liver tumors
- Liver metastasis, especially in patients who are not operative candidates
- Patients who cannot undergo general anesthesia
- Patients with recurring small tumors or who are waiting for liver transplant