Tumor Ablation Therapies



Radiofrequency ablation is the use of electrical energy to heat and destroy an area of tissue.

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Discomfort
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Infection
  • Lung collapse upon insertion of the probe—when the procedure involves the lung, liver, or upper kidney
  • Blood clots or damage to heart muscle or conduction pathways after procedures on the heart
  • Liver abscess
  • Damage to tissue surrounding the target area

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Bleeding problems
  • Active infection



This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (RFA)


American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org 

Radiology Info—The Radiological Society of North America https://www.radiologyinfo.org 


BC Cancer Agency http://www.bccancer.bc.ca 

Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca 


Ablation therapy for atrial fibrillation. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T901111/Ablation-therapy-for-atrial-fibrillation  . Updated April 27, 2017. Accessed November 28, 2017.

Cardiac procedures and surgeries. American Heart Association website. Available at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/Cardiac-Procedures-and-Surgeries%5FUCM%5F303939%5FArticle.jsp#.Wh3RRlWnFxA. Updated March 27, 2017. Accessed November 28, 2017.

Gazelle GS, Goldberg SN, Solbiati L, Livraghi T. Tumor ablation with radio-frequency energy. Radiology. 2000;217(3):633-646.

Radiofrequency ablation background. National Institutes of Health website. Available at https://www.cc.nih.gov/drd/rfa/background.html. Updated June 22, 2017. Accessed November 28, 2017.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)/Microwave ablation (MWA) of lung tumors. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=rfalung. Upated August 15, 2017. Accessed November 28, 2017.