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What Is Image-Guided Tumor Ablation?

Image-guided tumor ablation is a procedure that destroys tumor cells with either extreme heat (radiofrequency and microwave ablation) or extreme cold (cryoablation). Our interventional radiologists deliver energy through the skin with one or more needles. They may use ultrasound or CT imaging to help guide the needle into the tumor. The procedure typically takes one to two hours.

Image-guided tumor ablation is a minimally invasive, image-guided therapy used to treat tumors from liver cacer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, and bone cancer. Image-guided ablation may also be used to reduce the size of a tumor so it can be more easily eliminated by conventional treatment such chemotherapy or radiation. Image-guided ablation may also provide relief when a tumor invades the chest wall and causes pain.

How to Prepare for Image-Guided Tumor Ablation

We usually perform image-guided tumor ablation procedures in the morning on an outpatient basis. Please plan to have a friend or family member drive you home after your procedure.
  • Pre-Admission Testing - We will schedule an appointment for you. During a pre-procedure clinic visit, we may test your blood to determine how well your kidneys function and whether your blood clots normally.
  • When to Arrive - We will tell you what time to arrive when you make your appointment.
  • Eating and Drinking - Please do not eat solid foods, candy, gum, or drink liquids after midnight on the night before the procedure. 
  • Medications - It is important to tell us the names of any medications you are taking before your procedure, especially blood thinners. Your doctor will tell you which medications you may take on the morning of your procedure.
  • Pregnancy - Please let us know if there is any possibility you could be pregnant before undergoing image-guided tumor ablation.
  • Conscious Sedation - When you arrive, we will place an IV to give you sedatives to help you relax during the procedure. Some patients remain awake during the procedure. Some procedures require general anesthesia.

What Happens After Image-Guided Tumor Ablation?

You will wait in the recovery room until you are completely awake and ready to go home. If you feel any pain following image-guided tumor ablation, we will give you pain medication either through your IV or by injection. Some patients require overnight observation in the hospital. When you are ready to go home, any mild discomfort you experience can be controlled by oral pain medications. If you feel nauseous after the procedure, we can help relieve you with medication. You should be able to resume your usual activities within a few days.