Tumor ablation involves inserting a probe through the skin and into the tumor under precise 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), killing the tumor.
Liver, kidney, lung, and pancreatic tumors can be treated using ablation.
Preparing for Tumor Ablation
Radiofrequency ablation and microwave ablation are usually performed with general anesthesia. In preparation, you should not eat a meal for eight hours before the procedure.
Most medications can be taken the morning of the procedure except for medications that affect blood clotting (aspirin, Plavix, Lovenox, Coumadin, etc). If you are taking one of these medications, you may need to stop taking it or be switched to another medicine for a few days before the procedure. This will be coordinated by your doctor, if necessary.
What to Expect After Tumor Ablation
While some patients go home the day of the procedure, you may 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 may 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.
How We’re Different
We are specialists in ablation techniques, as well as in treating the areas of the body under care and the conditions leading to the procedure. In addition to the training that all radiologists receive, the interventional radiologists have additional fellowship training in interventional radiology, plus extensive real-world experience.
Our team of interventional radiologists and physician assistants coordinates your complete care – from imaging evaluation to post-procedure follow-up – maintaining a high level of communication with you throughout the process. In addition, we coordinate closely with experts from across the UT Southwestern community when necessary.
Request an Appointment
To meet with an interventional radiologist at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas, or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.