Ablation (Cryoablation, RFA)

Cryoablation is a process that uses cold energy (cryo) to kill tissue (ablation). The most common application is to ablate solid tumors found in the lung, liver, kidney and breast.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a process that uses heat from radiofrequency energy to kill tissue (ablation). Most commonly used to ablate tumors in the liver.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam.

Most patients are admitted through the Admissions and Testing Unit about two hours prior to test time. After you check in, Admissions and Testing staff will prep you for your exam, including checking vital signs, taking any needed laboratory tests, and starting an IV if necessary.

If you are taking any blood thinners, diabetic medication or are allergic to contrast, please notify us when your exam is scheduled, as there are special instructions that go along with these conditions.

What can I expect during the exam?

The exam is conducted by an interventional radiologist, a specially trained interventional radiology technologist and a nurse.

You will lie on the exam table, and an RN will place you on a monitor and administer sedatives.

The area of access will be sterilely cleaned and draped. A local numbing agent will be injected into the skin. Probes or electrodes are then inserted into or placed next to the diseased tissue through the skin (percutaneously).

For Cyroablation, probes are inserted and the cryogenic freezing unit will cool the tissue from the tip of the inserted probe.

For RFA, ablation needles are inserted, and radiofrequency current is passed through the electrode to heat the needle tip.

Once the area has been ablated, the probes are removed and a small bandage is placed over the site.

The procedure takes approximately 90 to 180 minutes.

What can I expect after the exam?

After the procedure, you will return to the Admission and Testing unit for bed rest and monitoring for approximately two hours. Detailed discharge instructions will be provided to you at this time.

Please arrange for a ride home after you are discharged, as you cannot drive for 24 hours after the exam.