Thermal Tumor Ablation
At Memphis Vascular Center, we perform two different types of tumor ablation procedures. Both use very small catheters guided by medical imaging to precisely reach and target the tumor directly. Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure where high heat is focused through a special device to destroy the tumor cells. Cryoablation uses extremely cold gas to freeze tumor cells.
For treating bone cancer, radiofrequency ablation is used by our doctors to destroy a tumor growing within the spine or other skeletal structure. In some cases, a special cement can be injected into the area of the bone in which the tumor was destroyed, to strengthen and reinforce the bone.
Hepatic Arterial Infusion
Also called hepatic arterial infusion scintigraphy, hepatic arterial infusion is a treatment technique performed within the blood vessels (vasculature) of the liver. By focusing the treatment only within the liver, it allows high-dose chemotherapy, biologic agents or hyperthermia directly to the cancer confined within the liver. This technique is recommended in cases where surgery is not possible or practical. This treatment is unique because it has the advantage of allowing the interventional radiologist to instantaneously monitor the response of the liver to the treatment.
Arterial embolization procedures differ from ablation procedures in that they embolize or “block” the artery feeding oxygenated blood to the cancerous tumor. Deprived of its lifeline and food supply, the tumor shrinks. During an embolization procedure, the interventional radiologist releases tiny microspheres via catheter into the artery near the tumor, which become lodged in the microvasculature surrounding the tumor, where they block the flow of blood.
A variation of this procedure, transarterial chemoembolization, uses microspheres that contain chemotherapy medication. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, this is a more precise treatment that exposes the tumor to the chemotherapy medication, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue and minimizing the toxic effects of the medication.
Transarterial Y-90 Radioembolization
Another variation, Y-90 radioembolization, uses microspheres that contain the radioactive element Yttrium-90. This is a highly effective treatment for inoperable liver tumors because it targets the tumor with minimal effect on the healthy tissue within the liver. Memphis Vascular Center is one of the very few centers in the region that performs Y-90 radioembolization on an outpatient basis for the convenience of our patients. Our treatment center is specially outfitted with the equipment and protocols needed to perform this treatment in a non-hospital setting.