About Thermal Ablation
Tumors need a blood supply, which they actively generate, to feed themselves and grow. As vascular experts, interventional radiologists are uniquely skilled in using the vascular system to deliver targeted treatments via catheter throughout the body or percutaneously through the skin. In treating cancer patients, interventional radiologists can attack the cancer tumor from inside the body without medicating or affecting other parts of the body. These minimally-invasive treatments are much easier on the patient than systemic therapy.
Thermal ablation can be given without affecting the patient's overall health and most people can resume their usual activities in a few days. The treatment usually does not require general anesthesia and is typically performed on an outpatient basis. Thermal ablation treatments are a growing area in interventional oncology, a specialty area of medicine within interventional radiology. In this study, the two types of thermal ablation used were radiofrequency and microwave.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) offers a non-surgical, localized treatment that kills the tumor cells with heat, while sparing the healthy lung tissue. During the procedure, the interventional radiologist guides a small needle through the skin into the tumor. From the tip of the needle, radiofrequency (electrical) energy is transmitted to the tip of the needle, where it produces heat in the tissues. The dead tumor tissue shrinks and slowly forms a scar. In a small number of cases, RFA can extend patients' lives, but it is generally palliative. Depending on the size of the tumor, RFA can shrink or kill the tumor, extending the patient's survival time and greatly improving their quality of life while living with cancer.
Microwave ablation utilizes electromagnetic microwaves to agitate the water molecules in the tumor and surrounding tissue, ultimately reversing the cells' polarity. This change in polarity causes the cells to rotate back and forth, causing friction and heat which kills the cell (coagulation necrosis).
SOURCE: Society of Interventional Radiology
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