Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA)
RFA is a minimally invasive treatment that uses heat created by radio waves to destroy cancer cells. It is used in the treatment of both primary liver cancer (HCC) and secondary liver cancer spread from the colon when patients aren’t able to undergo liver resection surgery.
Under an anaesthetic, the procedure involves inserting a needle directly into the tumour. An electric current is then passed, via the needle, into the tumour, destroying cells and creating scar tissue. The whole procedure is guided by imaging techniques such as CT or MRI and is completed in one to three hours. It can be performed on an out-patient basis as severe pain is uncommon and open surgery is not required.
General studies indicate that more than half of the primary liver tumours treated by RFA have not recurred and the success rate for completely eliminating small liver tumours is more than 85 percent. RFA can be repeated to treat liver tumours that do reappear.