RFA shows encouraging results in head, neck

October 1, 2002

With radio-frequency ablation's success increasingly established as a palliative technique in the liver and kidneys, interventionalists are trying it out in other parts of the body. New research suggests it may considerably reduce the size of advanced tumors in the mouth and throat and alleviate pain.

With radio-frequency ablation's success increasingly established as a palliative technique in the liver and kidneys, interventionalists are trying it out in other parts of the body. New research suggests it may considerably reduce the size of advanced tumors in the mouth and throat and alleviate pain.

Reseachers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx, NY, treated six patients in a pilot study presented in the August issue of Head and Neck. Tumors ranged from 2 to 15 cm and were most commonly located on the tongue, the base of the tongue, or the neck. All patients reported significant pain relief following the procedure.

MR or CT evaluation was helpful in selecting patients, but ultrasound was not useful for procedure guidance. Though no complications were recorded, damage to surrounding tissue and cranial nerves is a major concern, according to the authors.