Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is an image-guided technique that heats and destroys liver cancer cells. During radiofrequency ablation, imaging techniques such as ultrasound are used to help guide a needle electrode into a cancerous tumor. High-frequency electrical currents are then passed through the electrode, creating heat that destroys the abnormal cells.
Although RFA may be performed via open surgical incision, Hoag-USC surgeons, working in tandem with Hoag interventional radiologists, utilize specialized techniques for performing RFA using laparoscopic procedures.
It’s important to note that removal of liver cancer by surgical means is the treatment of choice. Therefore, patients being considered for RFA should be evaluated by an experienced liver surgeon first, since surgical removal of the tumor is the best approach. However, for patients who cannot undergo surgery either due to the extent of the disease, or the presence of cirrhosis or other medical conditions that pose an excessive risk, RFA is a safe and effective treatment option.