For inoperable kidney tumors, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) offers a nonsurgical, localized treatment that kills the tumor cells with heat, while sparing the healthy kidney tissue. This treatment is much easier on the patient and is more effective than systemic therapy, like chemotherapy. Radiofrequency energy can be given without affecting the patient's overall health and most people can resume their usual activities in a few days.
Radiofrequency Ablation at Wake Forest Baptist Health
In this procedure, known in short as RFA, your doctor guides a small needle through the skin into the tumor. From the tip of the needle, radiofrequency energy is transmitted into the tumor, where it produces heat and kills the tumor cells. The dead tumor tissue shrinks and slowly turns into a scar.
You should know the following about RFA:
- Is most effective when the kidney cancer is small in size (5cm or less)
- May be performed under conscious sedation or general anesthesia
- Most patients can resume their normal routines the next day and may feel tired only for a few days
- Can be repeated if necessary
- May be combined with other treatment options
Effectiveness of RFA
If the tumor is small, RFA can shrink and likely kill the tumor. Because it is a local treatment that does not harm healthy tissue, the treatment can be repeated as often as needed. It is a very safe procedure, with low complication rates.