Radiofrequency Ablation and Cryoablation (MSK patients)
Your ablation will take place on ___________________________ at _________.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a way to treat tumors inside and around bone. RFA is less invasive than surgery. Recovery is much faster. It is done by a radiologist who uses a CT scan for guidance. For your comfort, general anesthesia is used. When treating benign tumors, RFA is done on an outpatient basis, meaning you will be able to go home that same day. There are times when patients will need to stay for one night, most often when the treatment is for a malignant tumor. During the RFA, thin needles are placed through the skin into the tumor. Low level electric current is sent through the needles into the tumor. The heat from the current destroys the tumor tissue. Problems that follow are rare, but can include bleeding, infection, or damage to normal body parts nearby but will depend on where your tumor is. The treatment site is most often sore for a few days.
Cryoablation is another technique used to treat tumors inside and around bone. Thin needles are placed through the skin into the tumor. Extreme cold is sent through them to freeze the tumor tissue. Again, major problems after the treatment are rare, and are the same as those from RFA.
The radiologist will decide which treatment, RFA or cryoablation, will work best for you.
Before Your Procedure
- Tell us if you have allergies to medicines or X-ray dye (contrast).
- Please tell our staff if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
- Please tell our staff of the medicines you are now taking.
- Tell us if you are taking medicines which thin your blood (aspirin, ibuprofen, or CoumadinÒ). You will be asked to stop taking them for at least 5 days before the procedure.
- If you are taking insulin, take half of your normal dose in the morning.
- Tell us if you have a pacemaker, implanted defibrillator, metal prostheses (joint replacements), bile duct stents, or have had bile duct or bowel surgery before.
- A nurse from Radiology will call you the day before (on Friday for Monday test) to tell you when to arrive and answer any questions. To arrive at the Radiology desk, enter through the clinic entrance and follow the path to the Atrium elevators. Take the Atrium elevators to the third floor. Check in at the Radiology reception desk on your right.
- Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure.
- Plan to have someone drive you to and from the hospital.
Your ablation will last 2 to 6 hours. It will be done in a CT scan room. You will lie down on a CT scan table. An anesthesiologist will give you general anesthesia. Monitors will check your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level. You will have an IV (intravenous) line placed in your arm for medicines and fluids. If the procedure takes a long time, a catheter will be placed in your bladder.
After the Procedure
When you wake up, you will be in the recovery room where the nurses will check your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature often. It is normal to have mild pain at the ablation site for more than a few hours. Pain medicine will be offered to you if needed.
You may have mild nausea. When you are fully awake, you will be able to drink and eat.
You may keep taking your prescribed medicines when you go home. Be sure to drink extra fluids such as water or juice for the next few days, above all when taking pain pills.
Please call if you have
- Severe pain around the site
- Redness or swelling around the site
- A white or yellow discharge
- A foul smell
- Temperature greater than 101° F
- Pain beyond 48 hours
- Nausea or vomiting that won’t go away
Musculoskeletal Nurse Coordinator (608) 263-6871.
If you need to reschedule, call (608) 263-XRAY (9729) between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.
UW Hospital Paging Operator, (608) 262-0486. Have the Bone Radiologist paged.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
If you need help right away, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 04/28/2011
Copyright © 04/28/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6691
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