Liver ablation is the surgical treatment of liver cancer.
Liver ablation is a surgical treatment for liver cancer. This treatment uses a technique called radiofrequency ablation, in which high-frequency electrical current is used to destroy cancer cells. Radiofrequency liver ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that is an effective treatment option for many people with liver cancer, whether the tumor originates in the liver or has metastasized elsewhere.
A liver ultrasound can be used to diagnose liver cancer.
Radiofrequency liver ablation can be a good treatment for many types of people. In particular, it is an effective alternative to surgery and is therefore suitable for people who are not good candidates for surgery. For example, if there are several small tumors that must be removed, if there are one or more tumors in a site not accessible by surgery, or if the patient is not in good health to undergo surgery, then radiofrequency ablation may be a good alternative option.
A patient will undergo a CT scan or MRI one week after liver ablation to examine the success of the procedure.
Cancer treatment depends on the use of radiofrequency equipment and medical imaging. The medical imaging equipment used can be of different types, including MRI, CT or ultrasound, depending on the patient’s needs. This equipment is used during the procedure to guide the electrodes into the tumor.
The radiofrequency equipment used during the liver ablation procedure is capable of generating high-frequency electrical current. This electric current generates heat. The heat is capable of destroying cancer cells when directed at the patient’s tumor. This treatment does not destroy large amounts of healthy liver tissue, because healthy cells are more resistant to heat than cancer cells. Therefore, ablation treatment can destroy cancer cells, leaving healthy tissue intact and unharmed.
It is normal to experience pain after radiofrequency ablation.
At the same time that the cancer cells are being destroyed, the radiofrequency energy also cauterizes and closes the tiny blood vessels that feed the tumor. This greatly reduces the risk that dying cancer cells can cause the liver to bleed. Over time, dead cancer cells are removed from the liver and replaced with scar tissue.
In most cases, liver ablation can be performed under local anesthesia. In this type of ablation, electrodes are passed through small incisions in the skin. When this technique is used, the patient is given an intravenous sedative to help them remain relaxed at all times. Depending on the size and number of tumors being destroyed, the procedure takes one to three hours to complete.
Radiofrequency liver ablation is an effective treatment for liver cancer, whether the tumor originates in the liver or has metastasized from another site.
It is normal to experience pain after radiofrequency ablation; usually this pain can be controlled with oral pain relievers. For most people, the pain goes away within a week. Approximately one week after the procedure, the patient will undergo a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to determine the success of the ablation treatment. Other scans are done three to four times a year to determine if any new tumors have appeared.