Ablation is a less invasive alternative to surgery
Radiofrequency ablation uses heat energy to destroy abnormal cells. It may be used to treat various conditions such as cancerous tumors, cardiac arrhythmias, nerve pain, and even sleep apnea caused by excess soft palate tissue.
Different treatment applications for radiofrequency ablation
Depending on the reason for treatment radiofrequency ablation may be used in different ways.
- Cancer – When surgery is not an option radiofrequency may be recommended for killing cancer cells. A thin needle passes into the cancerous tissue, and radiofrequency energy is channeled through the needle, heating up the surrounding area and destroying any cancer cells.
- Cardiac arrhythmia – When medication is not solving your heart rhythm problems radiofrequency ablation may be used to “scar” heart tissue that is sending out irregular impulses.
- Nerve pain – For extreme nerve pain usually in the neck or lower back radiofrequency ablation may be used to create a heat “lesion” on certain nerves to prevent them from sending pain signals to the brain.
- Sleep apnea – For excessive snoring and sleep-related breathing problems radiofrequency ablation may be used to target excess tissue at the back of the tongue. Once the tissue heals it “shrinks” and creates more room for airflow.
Your doctor may recommend radiofrequency ablation treatments for other conditions such as varicose veins, uterine fibroids, and migraine headaches.
Radiofrequency ablation procedures may be done with local anesthesia and mild sedation (you’ll be relaxed but conscious) or in some cases, under general anesthesia and in conjunction with another type of surgery.