Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Contact Us: (632) 723-0101 ext. 5424 or 4118
Location: Institute of Digestive Diseases
Liver cancer and metastatic (spreading) liver tumors affect two million people worldwide. An exciting new approach in the battle against primary or metastatic tumors in the liver is Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA).
St. Luke’s Center for Liver Diseases is the only facility in the Philippines that offers RFA. In January 2003, the Center’s team of hepatologists (liver experts) and other specialists successfully performed the first RFA of the liver in the country.
RFA involves the insertion of a probe through the liver tissue with ultrasound guidance into the tumor and the delivery of alternating electrical current (radio frequency energy). Heat is then generated at the site of the lesion through agitation caused by the alternating electrical current. This heat produces coagulation and cellular destruction, resulting in the ablation (removal) of the target liver tissue. The tumor is literally “burned out”. RFA’s mode of action is similar to that of a microwave oven—heating from the inside out. The liver reabsorbs the destroyed cells over a period of time.
An RFA procedure normally takes around 12 minutes using the cool-tip electrode. For tumors 5 cm or smaller in size, treatment is administered in one session. Larger tumors, especially those over five cm, usually need two or more sessions. The treatments could be more curative or palliative.
RFA, a safe and well-tolerated procedure and associated with few complications, is performed through the following: percutaneously (through the skin) without an operation; laparoscopically (through several small incisions); or open abdominal incision.