Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for inoperable liver tumors offers a nonsurgical, localized treatment that kills tumor cells with heat, while sparing healthy liver tissue. Thus, this treatment is much easier on the patient than systemic therapy. Radiofrequency energy can be given without affecting the patient’s overall health and most people can resume their usual activities in a few days.
During this procedure, the interventional radiologist guides a small needle through the skin into the tumor. From the tip of the needle, radiofrequency energy (similar to microwaves) is transmitted to the tip of the needle, where it produces heat in the tissues. The dead tumor tissue shrinks and slowly forms a scar. The FDA has approved RFA for the treatment of liver tumors.