Treating tumors in the body may require surgery, however a variety of inoperable tumors of the lung, liver and kidneys may benefit from microwave ablation (MWA). MWA allows medical providers to ablate or destroy tumors with microwave heat and offers patients an additional cancer treatment approach that can be combined with chemotherapy, radiation and other management techniques. Other ablative approaches include radiofrequency, cryosurgery (freezing), alcohol and laser destruction of tumors.
To destroy tumor cells with MWA, a small thin microwave antenna is placed inside a tumor using CT or ultrasound guidance for pinpoint accuracy. The non-insulated end of the antenna sends out microwaves that heat cells inside the tumor, destroying them.
Microwave ablation offers patients a variety of benefits including:
- Consistently higher destruction temperatures inside the tumor
- Faster destruction—some treatments can take less than 10 minutes
- Capability to treat larger tumors than other approaches
MWA is effective and well tolerated. Most patients complete the procedure with very few or no complications.