Tumour ablation is a procedure to shrink a liver tumour by sending radio waves, chemicals, heat, or cold into the tumour.
The doctor will insert a thin needle or a probe into your skin on the right side of your belly near your ribs. You may feel pain in your shoulder for a few seconds when the needle or probe goes into your liver. This is called referred pain. It is caused by pain travelling along a nerve near the liver.
You may feel some pain in your belly when the doctor uses the probe. If the tumour is large, the doctor may repeat the procedure from a different angle. This is to make sure that all areas of the tumour are treated.
After the procedure, the doctor will remove the needle or probe. The doctor or nurse will put a bandage over your skin where the probe was inserted. You will probably go home on the same day as the procedure.
The radio waves, chemicals, heat, or cold make the tumour shrink. Bit by bit, the tumour will be replaced with scar tissue over the next few months. This will not affect your liver's ability to do its job.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: March 27, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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