A minimally invasive treatment for liver cancer

What is liver tumor ablation?

Liver tumor ablation is a minimally invasive treatment for liver cancer. It can be an alternative to surgery for patients with a few, small tumors in certain locations.

Ablation uses heat or ice to destroy tumors. Heating the tumor is done with "microwave ablation" or "radiofrequency ablation". Freezing the tumor is called "cryoablation". The dead tumor turns into a scar over time.

How is liver tumor ablation done?

Liver tumor ablation is done with a skinny wand and medical imaging (CT). Medicine is given to make you drowsy or to put you to sleep. The clinician puts the wand into the tumor through a pinhole in the skin. The tip of the wand then heats or freezes the tumor. The clinician then removes the wand and puts a small bandage over the pinhole.


Fig 1: The clinician finds the liver tumor using ultrasound or CT. They put the wand into the tumor through a pinhole in the skin.

Fig 2: They turn on the wand to heat or freeze the tumor. This kills the tumor.

Fig 3: After removing the wand, the clinician puts a over the pinhole. The tumor turns into a scar over time.

What are the risks?

Liver tumor ablation is generally a safe procedure when done by a specialist.


2-3 IN 100 PEOPLE

  • experience internal bleeding
  • develop infection
  • have skin burns
  • have damage to surrounding areas

1 IN 10-20 PEOPLE

  • experience temporary pain
  • develop a fever
  • have minor bleeding

Death is extremely rare, occurring in up t

1 IN 1000 PEOPLE

What are the alternatives?

Your treatment options depend on your preferences and your unique conditions. These include your overall health as well as the size, location and number of tumors that you have. Sometimes you may benefit from a combination of these treatments.

  • Alternative 1 No treatment The disadvantage of this is that the cancer may continue to grow.

  • Alternative 2 TACE OR TARE are minimally invasive, image-guided procedures. Tiny beads are injected into the tumor’s blood vessels to deliver therapy.

  • Alternative 3 Surgery to cut the tumor out or to replace your liver with a transplant.

  • Alternative 4 Radiation therapy s a series of treatments to destroy the tumor with radiation beams delivered from the outside.

  • Alternative 5 Medicines to treat the cancer or help the immune system fight the cancer.

Post Procedure Info

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