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Radiofrequency Ablation

Scheduling and Directions

DeKalb Medical offers radiofrequency ablation, a treatment that uses radio waves to create heat which is directed though a needle probe to cancer cells to destroy tumors. Radiofrequncy ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure.

Because of this and its ability to create heat in a specific location, RFA is a good treatment choice for patients with many types of cancer. RFA also has proven to be an excellent alternative for many patients who have not been able to have surgery or other cancer therapy, or who have tried other cancer treatments that have not been effective. The treatment is used not only to help treat cancer, but also to ease pain in cancer patients, treat tumors that recur and treat some non-cancerous conditions. It is also used to treat certain heart conditions.

RFA and Liver Tumors

One of the cancers treated most often with RFA is cancer of the liver. In many cases, removing the tumor with surgery would not leave enough healthy tissue for the liver to continue to function. Liver tumors that spread from cancers that started somewhere else in the body also are good candidates for RFA. In some cases, a previous attempt to treat the tumor, such as with chemotherapy, did not work and RFA is the next option. RFA also might be used to treat a tumor that has come back.

RFA and Lung Tumors

Some patients with lung cancer are too ill to have conventional surgery, or they want to avoid the long recovery and possible complications of surgery. Although RFA once was thought useful only for early, small lung cancers, research has shown that it also safely and effectively treats advanced lung cancer. The technique may be used to treat cancer that has spread to the lung. Physicians may use RFA to remove most of a tumor that is too large to remove with surgery.

RFA and Kidney Tumors

Many patients with kidney tumors have surgery, but some patients only have one kidney. For those patients, RFA is the preferred treatment since it helps spare the individual’s only kidney. As with other organs, RFA is an excellent alternative for patients who have conditions that might prevent them from having surgery or for whom recovery from surgery would be difficult. RFA for kidney (renal) cancer is an excellent choice for patients with more than one tumor, if the tumors are smaller than about 4 to 5 centimeters.

RFA and Bone Cancer and Pain

Usually, RFA for bone cancer is not used to treat the cancer. It is used to relieve the pain associated with bone cancer. Physicians also may use RFA to relieve pain associated with other cancers by shrinking a tumor that is causing pain, particularly when the tumor has not responded to other treatments or cannot be reached or treated with surgery.

Preparing for Radiofrequency Ablation

You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your radiofrequency ablation procedure. If you take medications, your doctor will tell you which ones you can take the morning of your procedure. You will be admitted to the hospital on the day of your test. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure that causes little or no pain and is done under anesthesia.

After Your Radiofrequency Ablation

When you are ready to go home, your nurse will give you any after-care instructions including any restrictions on activities. Patients who have RFA typically can resume normal activities in a few days. The radiologist who performed your procedure will advise your physician as to the outcome of the test. Your physician will follow up with you about the results of your procedure.

Scheduling and Directions

Your physician will contact DeKalb Medical to schedule your radiofrequency ablation for you.

If your procedure is at DeKalb Medical at North Decatur, go to the hospital’s central registration area.

  • From North Decatur Road, enter the hospital campus via Wash Lively Road.
  • At road end, turn right. (Note: If you are in a wheelchair or need to be dropped off at the entrance, turn left and proceed to the Central Registration patient drop-off which is on the right just past the main hospital entrance. Your driver should then turn around and continue to the Visitor/Patient parking deck.)
  • At stop sign, turn left and park in the Visitor/Patient parking deck.
  • Take any elevator or stairs to the 3rd level.
  • Proceed to the Pedestrian Bridge to the hospital.
  • Take bridge straight ahead to the escalators.
  • Take escalators down one level.
  • Once off escalators, turn right and immediately left and follow the directions to the hospital main lobby.
  • Proceed past the hospital Gift Shop on your right.
  • Once in the main lobby, follow the hallway to Central Registration.
  • At the end of hallway, turn left.
  • Central Registration is on the right.

If your procedure is being performed at DeKalb Medical at Hillandale, go to the hospital’s registration area.

  • Park in the hospital parking lot.
  • Proceed to the main entrance of the hospital.
  • Registration is directly on the right – you must register before proceeding to the Imaging Department.
  • When you have completed registration, a staff member will direct you to the Imaging Department for your procedure.
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