Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure in which a probe is inserted into the center of a tumor and heated locally by a high frequency, alternating current that flows from electrodes. The local heat treats the tissue adjacent to the probe, resulting in a 3-5 cm sphere of dead tissue. The cells killed by RFA are not removed but are gradually replaced by fibrosis and scar tissue. RFA may be performed percutaneously, laparoscopically, or as an open procedure.
Cryosurgical ablation involves the freezing of target tissues, most often by inserting a probe into the tumor where coolant is circulated. Cryosurgical ablation can be performed as an open surgical technique or percutaneously or laparoscopically, typically with ultrasound guidance.
Microwave ablation (MWA) destroys tumors using microwave energy to generate thermal coagulation and localized tissue necrosis with minimal damage to surrounding tissues. MWA may be performed percutaneously, laparoscopically, or as an open procedure.