Rush-Copley radiologists are helping to redefine the role of the radiologist in cancer care. Traditionally, radiologists focused their efforts on the diagnosis of cancer. Today, Rush-Copley radiologists are working together with medical and radiation oncologists to treat cancer.
Rush-Copley is one of the only medical centers in the greater Fox Valley area to offer a promising cancer treatment option called radiofrequency ablation.
What is radiofrequency ablation?
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure used to destroy undesirable tissue, such as liver tumors. It is a safe and well tolerated procedure that is associated with few complications. Radiofrequency ablation begins with an interventional radiologist using an instrument that passes an alternating electrical current (radiofrequency energy) through a target area (lesion) within tissue. Heat is generated at the site of the lesion through agitation caused by this alternating current. This heat produces coagulation and cellular destruction, resulting in ablation of the tumor. Working closely, Rush-Copley oncologists and radiologists identify patients who could benefit from RFA.
RFA may be performed through an open incision or via laparoscopy. Laparoscopy, also referred to as minimally invasive surgery, is performed through multiple, small skin incisions. If indicated, RFA can also be done through small skin punctures (percutaneously). The patient's doctor will discuss the best approach for their particular case.
In this procedure, a Rush-Copley interventional radiologist injects a special material into the main blood vessel leading to the liver. By clogging this vessel, the tumor is deprived of oxygen and other nutrients. Simultaneously a concentrated dose of a chemotheraputic drug is infused into the artery. Some of the benefits of chemoembolization include: fewer systemic side effects, increased chemotherapy agent efficacy, the ability to target specific lesions, and shorter treatment duration.