Tumor Ablation

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At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our team of interventional radiologists specializes in minimally invasive tumor ablation techniques to treat certain cancers. We use the most advanced imaging technologies to ensure that each treatment is as precise and effective as possible.

Experience Patients Can Trust

Tumor ablation involves using extreme heat to destroy cancerous cells. It’s used to treat liver, kidney, lung, and pancreatic tumors.

The treatment involves inserting a probe through the skin and into the tumor under precise computed tomography (CT) scan or ultrasound guidance. The probe is then connected to a heating source, and the tumor is heated to approximately 100 degrees Celsius (boiling point), destroying the tumor.

UT Southwestern’s interventional radiologists are specialists in ablation techniques, as well as in treatment of the areas of the body under care and the conditions leading to the procedure.

Our team of interventional radiologists and physician assistants coordinates each patient’s complete care – from imaging evaluation to post-procedure follow-up – maintaining a high level of communication throughout the process. We coordinate closely with experts from across the UT Southwestern community when necessary.

In addition to the training that all radiologists receive, our interventional radiologists have advanced fellowship training in interventional radiology, plus extensive real-world experience.

Preparing for Tumor Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation and microwave ablation are usually performed with general anesthesia. In preparation, patients should not eat for eight hours before the procedure.

Most medications can be taken the morning of the procedure except for those that affect blood clotting, such as aspirin, Plavix, Lovenox, or Coumadin. Patients who are taking one of these medications might need to stop taking it or be switched to another medicine for a few days before the procedure. Our team can coordinate medication management as needed.

What to Expect After Tumor Ablation

While some patients go home the day of the procedure, others might need to stay overnight for pain control. The pain following ablation can usually be controlled with oral pain medications; less frequently, intravenous pain medications are needed.

Patients sometimes complain of nausea following the procedure. Low-grade fevers can also occur as the tumor begins to die. The incision is not much bigger than a needle and will close over a couple of days. Every patient is different, but most patients are able to go back to work in a few days.

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