Radiofrequency ablation is a relatively-new method of a bloodless cancer tumor removal which is oriented on patients who are contraindicated in classical surgical intervention. Modern devices for the procedure work under complete computer control, which allows to limit the area of intervention and prevent damage to healthy tissues. Like other methods of cancer tumor treatment, radiofrequency ablation has advantages and disadvantages, as well as features that limit its use.
The essence of radiofrequency ablation in oncology
The tumor tissues heat up to 80-110 degrees under high-frequency waves. As a result, the malignant neoplasm falls under local necrosis. During the procedure healthy cells are not damaged, as the impact of radio waves is controlled by ultrasound, MRI or CT scanners. At the beginning of the procedure, the doctor puts the RFA tube (probe) in the center of the tumor, and then moves it to the edges as the tumor tissue dies. During the operation, the surgeon can control the power and temperature of the radio beam.
Modern medicine offers several methods of conducting radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the tumor, depending on the method access to the neoplasm:
- transdermal - RFA device is inserted by means of a thin probe through a puncture or incision on the skin (the method is used when the soft tissues are affected by cancer cells);
- endoscopic - the probe is injected with an endoscope (the method is used to remove tumors in the hollow organs - larynx, lungs, esophagus, stomach, bladder, etc.);
- laparoscopic - the RFA probe is injected with a laparoscope (the method is used to remove tumors located on the surface of the liver, pancreas, prostate, uterus, or appendages).
Radiofrequency ablation is also used during classical surgical interventions. The risk of recurrence after radiofrequency ablation of tumors is 2-3 times lower than in classical excision of tumors.
Indications and contraindications of RFA
Radiofrequency ablation is used for a variety of tumor types of the following organs:
- liver and pancreas (including metastases);
- stomach and esophagus;
- hollow organs - kidneys, lungs, uterus, bladder;
- glands - prostate, ovaries, adrenals, thyroid gland;
- bones and other tissues of the skeleton (including metastases).
Large size of neoplasms (more than 70 mm in diameter) can be the cause of operation contraindication with the use of radiofrequency ablation. As well as a lesion of more than 50% of the body and tumor germination through the capsule of the organ. This method is also not applied in the cases when neoplasms are near large vessels.
Low traumatization of tissues, shortened period of rehabilitation, low risk of complications and relapses make the method of radiofrequency ablation one of the most popular in the treatment of cancer tumors. One of its main advantages is the accessibility for patients: the RFA is installed in most clinics, and this procedure costs less than other tumor-removing options.
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