Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) of the Liver

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Liver Cancer Symptoms and Signs

Signs and symptoms of liver cancer arise most commonly in the later stages of the disease and include:

  • Chalky, white-colored stools
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

What is radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the liver?

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a technique that uses high frequency electrical energy that creates heat, delivered through a thin instrument known as a probe, to destroy tissue. It is used in the liver to destroy tumors (either primary liver cancers or cancers that have metastasized or spread to the liver) that cannot be removed by traditional surgery.

Radiofrequency ablation also is  used in many other medical conditions. Examples of other uses of radiofrequency ablation include:

What are uses of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the liver?

Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) of the liver, primary cancers that arise in the liver cells, when these tumors are small and the patient is not an appropriate candidate for surgical removal of the tumor or liver transplantation. Radiofrequency ablation also can be used on liver tumors that have originated elsewhere in the body and have spread (metastasized) to the liver.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2016

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