A precise determination of the indication and careful preparation are needed for RFA.
In preparation for the procedure, we evaluate the case history and any diagnostic results already available, such as CT images, MRI scans and, if available, PET-CT scans (positron emission computed tomography). To this end, we request that a detailed medical history is provided, with a list of the treatments already applied, an indication of the progression of the disease, and the most up-to-date diagnostic images available.
Based on the documents supplied, we can check whether the most important requirements for RFA are fulfilled. If this is the case, the patient will be invited for a further consultation and work-up at our outpatient clinic for minimally invasive tumour therapy. You can arrange an appointment for this by calling +49 (0)30 / 450 557 309.
Patients remain on our unit for around three to four days for the treatment.
The procedure is generally very well tolerated under local anaesthetic and a strong pain killer so that in most cases a general anaesthetic is not needed.
The needle electrode is positioned through the skin (percutaneously) into the tumour. The activated needle electrode causes the tissue in the tumour area to heat up to around 100°C. The tumour cells die (coagulation necrosis) and are removed (ablation). The procedure takes around 15 to 30 minutes. The needle electrode is then removed from the body and the incision canal is sealed.
There are no restrictions to normal everyday activities following the procedure. After six to eight weeks and then every three months, we recommend an outpatient MRI scan of the liver – ideally with liver cell-specific contrast medium in order to check the success of the ablation and to rule out any new liver tumours.
The patient can have this MRI scan done as an outpatient at our facility or elsewhere. If the MRI scan is carried out elsewhere, we would be grateful if the image data could be sent to us via CD-ROM for quality assessment.