MICROWAVE ABLATION UNRESECTABLE LIVER TUMORS

Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure for destroying unresectable liver tumors.

WHAT IS MICROWAVE ABLATION FOR LIVER TUMORS?

A microwave ablation system — like the Medtronic Emprint™ ablation system with Thermosphere™ technology — allows your doctor to destroy unresectable liver tumors in a minimally invasive way, using few or very small incisions. Your doctor will use ultrasound, CT, or MRI images to see your liver in real time while performing the ablation procedure. Guided by these images, your doctor will place the ablation antenna into the center of the non-resectable liver tumor. There, the antenna delivers thermal (heat) energy to destroy the non-resectable liver tumor(s) and some of the surrounding tissue.

Ablation can be combined with additional therapies (such as chemotherapy, radiation, or resection) so that you have another weapon in the battle for your liver.

Illustration of Emprint ablation system antenna penetrating a liver tumor.

HOW ABLATION WORKS

Illustration of liver showing the ablation antenna inserted into the center of a liver tumor.

Ablation targets the non-resectable liver tumor.
Guided by images of the liver, your doctor places the ablation antenna into the center of the non-resectable liver tumor.

Illustration of liver showing the ablation antenna delivering heat energy to destroy a liver tumor.

The tumor cells are destroyed.
The ablation antenna delivers thermal energy to destroy the tumor cells and some of the surrounding tissue.1

Illustration of liver showing the dead tumor cells replaced by scar tissue over time.

Your tissues will heal.
The dead tumor cells are gradually replaced by scar tissue that shrinks over time.2

WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR LIVER TUMOR ABLATION?

For some patients, ablation may used for non-resectable liver tumors in addition to chemotherapy, radiation, or other therapies. Studies have shown that ablation is a good alternative therapy when the tumor(s) cannot be removed surgically.3-5

Doctors generally make a decision to use ablation based on certain guidelines. For example, the non-resectable liver tumor and surrounding normal tissues need to be located where the doctor can reach them in a minimally invasive procedure.6 Also, ablation is generally more effective when used on non-resectable liver tumors that are less than 1.18 inches (3 centimeters) in size.6,7

Microwave ablation procedures are not recommended for pregnant patients, patients with cardiac pacemaker or other implanted electronic devices. Consult your health care professional and review risk information.

WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE YOUR ABLATION PROCEDURE

You may receive ablation as an outpatient procedure. It is performed in a hospital radiology suite or operating room. Here are some things to know before you have your ablation procedure:

  • Ablation is typically performed under sedation or general anesthesia. Before your procedure, your healthcare team will determine the appropriate sedation for you.
  • The length of the procedure varies from patient to patient.
  • The doctors performing your procedure will use imaging scans to help them monitor the area of ablation.
  • After the procedure, you will go to recovery where doctors will monitor you.
  • Your doctor will discuss the results of the procedure with you. If necessary, your doctor will help you determine any further steps to take.
  • The most common complication patients experience after an ablation procedure is some slight pain and discomfort.8
  • Serious complications, such as bleeding and infection, are uncommon.7 Your doctor will discuss your risk for specific complications.
  • Please consult with your doctor for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results, and other important medical information about ablation.

FIND A PHYSICIAN

Find a doctor in your area who specializes in ablation therapy for unresectable liver tumors.

SEARCH NOW

KEEP LEARNING

Continue reading about liver tumors and learn about possible interventions:

1

Based on internal test report #R0043973, in vivo performance testing of the Emprint™ microwave ablation system in porcine model. November 2013.

2

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) of Liver Tumors. American College of Radiology and Radiological Society of North America website. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=rfaliver. Updated April 22, 2016. Accessed December 21, 2016.

3

Forner A, Gilabert M, Bruix J, Raoul J-L. Treatment of intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. 2014;11(9):525-535.

4

National Comprehensive Cancer Network. (n.d.). Retrieved July 18, 2016, from https://www.nccn.org/

5

Benson AB 3rd, D’Angelica MI, Abbott DE, et al. NCCN Guidelines Insights: Hepatobiliary Cancers, Version 1.2017. Journal Of The National Comprehensive Cancer Network: JNCCN. 2017;15(5):563-573.

6

Vascular and Interventional Radiology: Tumor Ablation. Johns Hopkins Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/interventional-radiology/procedures/tumor/ Accessed February 23, 2017.

7

American Cancer Society. Liver Cancer. Updated April 28, 2016. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003114-pdf.pdf Accessed December 21, 2016.

8

Ong SL, Gravante G, Metcalfe MS, Strickland AD, Dennison AR, Lloyd DM. Efficacy and safety of microwave ablation for primary and secondary liver malignancies: a systematic review. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009; 21(6):599.605.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.