What to Expect: Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure that may be used to treat your cancer. It is similar in many ways to cryoablation or needle biopsy. This procedure involves a needle-like probe. The probe is inserted into the tumor with imaging guidance. Once the probe placement is confirmed, radio frequency waves enter the tumor, causing the cells to die. The dead cells are then absorbed by the body. 

This procedure is most commonly used for the following types of cancers: 

  • Liver 

  • Lung 

  • Kidney 

  • Adrenal gland 

  • Pancreas 

  • Thyroid 

What to Expect 

This procedure is typically performed in an outpatient setting and requires no general anesthesia. Some patients may receive medication for relaxation prior to the procedure. Patients may need more than one radiofrequency ablation treatment in order to treat their cancer. There are minimal side effects with this procedure, but you may have some bleeding, bruising, or soreness at the site of probe entry. These symptoms usually resolve quickly, and you feel normal within 24 hours.   

Questions to Ask Your Doctor 

  • What side effects can I expect with this treatment? 

  • What will my recovery time be? 

  • Will I need to have a driver to and from the procedure?