SOMC Surgery Uses New Procedure To Destroy Tumors

SOMC Surgeons Dr. Thomas Khoury and Dr. Richard Rooney prepare to use a special radiofrequency probe to destroy a tumor in a patient’s liver.

Southern Ohio Medical Center is among the first hospitals in the region using a new procedure to destroy cancerous tumors in soft tissue without surgically removing them.

“In many cases this procedure can be done with smaller incisions and less risk to the patient,” SOMC general and vascular surgeon Thomas L. Khoury, SOMC’s cancer physician liaison, says. “Using image-guided technology, a special probe on a wire delivers localized high-frequency electric current, heating and destroying the tumor with less damage to surrounding tissue.”

Known as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), the approach results in safely destroying the tissue, which then shrinks and is replaced with scar tissue.

“Depending on the patient and conditions, the procedure can be performed in conventional surgery or in an image-guided approach,” Dr. Khoury says. “This is less traumatic to the patient in some cases than surgically removing the tumor, which requires larger incisions, longer recovery, greater discomfort and more risk of infection.”

The most common areas of treatment include the liver, lung, kidney, adrenal gland, and in some cases bone. While the technology does not replace conventional chemotherapy or radiation therapy, it can be used in conjunction with those approaches to address soft tissue cancers, Dr. Khoury says.

SOMC Surgical Services uses the Boston Scientific system. Once the tumor has been ablated, the patient will be scanned at one month and every three months afterward to monitor for any recurrence.