New technologies are providing opportunities to offer non-invasive treatment options. Interventional radiology does not require surgical incisions, no stitches and no scars.
Most Interventional Radiology procedures do not require general anesthesia, are less painful and have fewer risks and complications. And most conditions treated with Interventional Radiology can be done in an outpatient setting, or require hospitalization for only a brief time. Treatments such as these usually require less hospital stay and faster healing times.
Imaging Guided Biopsy
Our physicians often use imaging-guided biopsy to diagnose or rule out the presence of cancer. Under fluoroscopic, CT or ultrasound guidance, our radiologists place small needles in areas of abnormality, and take samples for cytologic or pathologic testing. With imaging guidance, biopsies of an abnormality can be obtained while important adjacent structures, such as blood vessels or bowel, may be avoided. Often, imaging-guided biopsy is performed, instead of a surgical or open biopsy, to spare the patient a much more invasive procedure with its associated inherent risks.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Our interventional radiologists utilize the StarBurst TALON Semi-Flex radiofrequency ablation procedure for treating tumors. This groundbreaking technology can destroy a tumor when surgical removal is not an option - without the side effects of more invasive techniques.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a localized treatment that kills the target tissue with heat, while sparing non-targeted tissue. Because of the localized nature of this treatment, patients report that RFA causes very little discomfort after the procedure and most people can resume their usual activities in a few days. Radiofrequency ablation can also be done in conjunction with chemotherapy so the tumor can be treated locally with RFA while the patient continues to be treated systemically with chemotherapy.
In the RFA procedure, interventional radiologists use ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to place a slender probe directly into the tumor. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, RFA can be performed with either general or local anesthesia. Once the probe is positioned, a bouquet of very thin, flexible electrodes is extended from the end of the probe into the tissue to encompass the tumor. Using a radiofrequency generator, the physician then allows a carefully-controlled amount of energy to flow through the electrodes into the tissue. This causes the tissue to heat up. Heating is sustained for a predetermined length of time, usually a few minutes. This destroys the tumor and a margin of healthy tissue to insure that the treated tumor does not return.
If the tumor does return after one treatment, RFA can usually be repeated. This modality can be used to treat patients with liver tumors that can't be removed surgically or for painful bone lesions that standard therapies alone are unable to manage. This technique can be performed percutaneously, as an open procedure or laparoscopically, depending on the location of the tumor.
Radiofrequency energy is a very effective means of killing targeted tissue and tumors and is an important addition to the options High Point Regional offers to the patients it serves. The process is rapid, typically requiring less than 10 to 15 minutes exposure time for a 3 cm ablation.
Radiofrequency ablation is a very prevalent technology around the world. For example, last year nearly 25,000 RFA procedures were conducted in the U.S. alone. Minimally invasive treatment is associated with shorter recovery times and a quicker return to normal activity compared with surgical treatment options. Furthermore, physicians will perform these procedures on elderly patients who are more prone to comorbidities that would eliminate surgery as a treatment option for them.