Doctor taking blood pressure of patient.

Thermal Ablation

Also known as: Cryoablation, Radiofrequency, Ablation

In order to treat difficult breast, kidney, liver, prostate and pancreatic cancers, doctors at Providence recommend a thermal ablation procedure.

Thermal ablation is a type of procedure that uses heat, cold, microwave and electrical currents to vaporize (ablate) cancer cells and tumors.

When a patient isn’t suited for a tumor removal, thermal ablation is generally considered a preferred method of treatment.

Thermal ablation procedures come in many forms, including:

  • Cryoablation (Cryosurgery or cryotherapy)
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Cytoablation (PVP laser surgery)

During an ablation procedure, a catheter (thin, flexible tube) or a needle is inserted into the body and carefully guided to the specific area where cancer is located. Doctors most often use CT scanning or ultrasound imaging to guide these tools.

Once there, the tips of these tools use either radiofrequency energy, liquid nitrogen, electric currents, or heat to destroy (ablate) the cancer cells within the tumor.

The ablation procedure itself is minimally-invasive and is performed under mild sedation and local anesthesia, causing little discomfort for our patients. More often than not, patients who undergo an ablation procedure leave their hospital the same day.

As with any procedure, some complications and side effects may arise. For ablation procedures, these include bleeding, infection of the incision, nerve damage and a chance of an unsuccessful procedure.