Benefits vs. Risks of Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency Ablation Benefits

  • RFA is a relatively quick procedure and recovery is rapid so that chemotherapy may be resumed almost immediately in patients who need it.
  • Radiofrequency ablation is less expensive than other treatment options.
  • No surgical incision is needed—only a small nick in the skin that does not have to be stitched closed.
  • Unlike surgical treatment, this procedure allows the kidney to be preserved.
  • It does not have an effect on blood pressure.
  • It may or may not have an effect on renal function depending on how large an area needs to be treated.

Radiofrequency Ablation Risks

  • Severe pain after RFA is uncommon, but may last a few days and require a narcotic to provide relief.
  • Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. The chance of infection requiring antibiotic treatment appears to be less than one in 1,000.
  • There is always a slight chance of cancer from exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of this treatment outweighs the risk.
  • Women should always inform their doctor and X-ray or CT technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.