Radiofrequency ablation is a growing part of the practice established by interventional radiologist Dr. Paul Christy and his partners at Methodist Hospitals’ Interventional Radiology Center in Omaha. Most of their RFA practice focuses on lung tumors, but they also treat tumors of the liver and bone. The 13-person group includes one part-time and two full-time interventional radiologists, as well as medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, and other specialists.
Interventional oncology is on the rise for several reasons. Cancer detection is increasing in our population as more imaging is done at an earlier stage. The technology is continuing to advance and improve.
A successful practice in interventional oncology needs dedicated clinical space, committed support staff, and intense physician involvement with patients, according to participants at a symposium on building an IR oncologic practice at the 2006 Society of Interventional Radiology meeting in Toronto in early April.
While clinical data supporting the effectiveness of tumor ablation is growing, educational opportunities for physicians who want to learn new techniques or get tips on developing a tumor ablation practice lag behind. Some training is available through CME courses, industry society events, vendor education, and informal arrangements with luminaries, but large-scale, organized training regimens do not yet exist.