Radiology – Tumor Ablation
For patients in severe pain from cancer that has metastasized to the spine from other locations, we are excited to offer a revolutionary, minimally invasive, pain-relieving procedure using spinal tumor radiofrequency ablation.
Spinal tumor radiofrequency ablation benefits to patients:
- Rapid back pain relief through a minimally invasive, targeted, outpatient procedure
- Compatible with patients' current cancer treatments
- Option for patients who have reached their cumulative radiation dose limit
- Potential treatment for radiation therapy-resistant tumors
How it works
Physicians shrink or destroy spinal tumors using a flexible, navigational probe that emits heat generated by radiofrequency energy. When the tumor shrinks, it no longer presses against the nerves which cause pain or push against fractures that may exist as a result of the tumor. Often, patients have the STAR™procedure before any other cancer treatments are started to enable them to have a more comfortable radiation, chemotherapy, or surgical treatment experience.
The spinal radiofrequency ablation procedure is performed in a single treatment, often taking less than 90 minutes.
Patients receive local anesthesia and conscious sedation before the procedure. The physician uses radiography guidance to place the probe through the incision and into the tumor. The probe is navigated to the center of the tumor and the heat is applied. The heat is controlled precisely by the STAR™ system for accurate treatment of the tumor without damaging surrounding healthy tissue or bone.
Once the tumor is treated, the space that remains may be filled with medical-grade cement before the probe is removed. The cement helps stabilize the spine and prevent compression fractures around the tumor space.
Within 24 – 48 hours, the procedure allows patients who were wracked with pain and unable to move or walk the ability to move easily and walk without pain again. Studies show sustained pain relief at six months following the procedure. With their pain eased, patients can go on to receive uninterrupted chemotherapy or radiation treatment for their primary cancer.