Experimental Surgical Treatment Options
Most surgeons consider the following therapeutic options to still be in the early stages of development. These technologies are often reserved for patients where other forms of treatment have not worked successfully.
Source: Brace, Critical Rev in Biomedical Eng (2010)
Microwave ablation is a recent development in the field of tumor ablation and canc be performed via Percutaneous, Laparoscopic, or Open surgical techniques. During the procedure, a thin, 14-gauge Microwave Antenna is directed to the target area through CT imaging guidance. The probe is then inserted directly into the tumor. A Microwave Generator is used to emit Electromagnetic Microwaves through an exposed portion of the antenna. Similar to that in a Kitchen Microwave Oven, these Microwaves agitate and vibrate water molecules in the targeted tissue, producing friction and intense heat. This heat burns and closes off blood vessels to the cancerous tissue, inducing Hypoxia and cellular death through Coagulative Necrosis. The primary advantages of Microwave Ablation technology over Radio-Frequency Thermal Ablation or Laser Ablation include consistently higher intra-tumor temperatures, larger tumor ablation volumes, faster ablation times, and an improved convection profile, thereby increasing the probability of killing the Cancer. However, in Microwave Ablation as with other types of Ablation, the antennae radiate waves and heat surrounding tissue, increasing the risk of damaging healthy tissue and organs that may be in close proximity to the Tumor being ablated. Microwave Ablation technology is still in its infancy, and future developments and clinical implementation will determine its ability to help improve the care of patients with cancer. Until then, this technology is considered experimental and usually reserved for palliative care.