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Radiofrequency Ablation

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Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Your Radiofrequency Ablation?

At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, a complex team of healthcare providers is working together to achieve the best results for your health status. We want you to enjoy life with minimum health impediments. Always compassionate and prepared for challenges, our medical personnel thinks of your wellbeing as a top priority.

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure. It is performed in order to heat or destroy certain tissues in the body. This procedure is used as a treatment for cancerous tumors, and arrhythmias. It is used for chronic pain by stopping nerve tissues from sending pain signals.

When radiofrequency ablation is performed as a treatment for cancer, a needle electrode is used to target the tumor. After the needle is guided to the tumor, electricity is discharged into the tissue heating it to the right temperature to destroy it. This is practically burning the cancerous cells in order to eliminate them.

Because heat is used, the blood vessels from the nearby area of the targeted tissue are closed. This keeps the bleeding and the damage in the area to a minimum. In the healing process, scar tissues will form in the place of the tumor ablated.

For radiofrequency ablation, imaging tests like a CT scan are necessary to precisely locate the tumor or the tissue that needs to be ablated. After the healthcare provider pinpoints the location of the tissue in the body, the patient can lay on the exam table.

If the procedure requires sedation, an intravenous line (IV) will be placed in the patient’s vein on the arm. The blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse are being monitored during the procedure.

For the insertion of the needle electrode, the healthcare provider makes a small incision into the skin. The place of the cut is previously disinfected to minimize the risk of infection. Local anesthesia is also performed to prepare that area.

Using the images provided by the CT scan, the healthcare provider positions the needle electrode into the tumor. Now, radiofrequency energy is applied to heat the tissue for a period of time depending on the size of the tumor.

At the end of the radiofrequency ablation, the needle is withdrawn with care from the patient’s body, and a bandage is applied over the incision.

Some of the benefits of radiofrequency ablation include:

  • It can be performed as an outpatient procedure, or the hospital stay is short
  • The procedure is minimally invasive, a small incision is enough for the insertion of the needle
  • Usually, the patient will feel little to no pain
  • The procedure can be repeated more times if needed
  • It’s efficient in treating small cancers
  • It can be done instead of surgery

Immediately after radiofrequency ablation, the patient will remain in the observation of the healthcare providers. Because the procedure is usually performed under anesthesia, the patient still needs to be monitored until the effect of the sedation wears off.

The patient might feel dizzy or disoriented in these after-procedure moments, so he/she can wait in the recovery room. The healthcare providers can release the patient after they make sure it is safe to do so. Family or friends are welcomed to watch over the patient from here.

Radiofrequency ablation treatment does not commonly imply high risks. Also, developing serious complications after the treatment is not often experienced by patients.

Side effects and complications depend on various factors, such as the purpose of the treatment, the severity of the health problem, the patient’s age and overall health, the organs or areas treated. Even so, possible side effects and complications experienced after radiofrequency ablation can include:

  • Damage of blood vessels
  • Bleeding
  • Infections
  • Risk of radiation exposure, in cases of using a CT scan 
  • Discomfort at the place of injection
  • Worsening of pain

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