Lung Cancer: Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiology is a set of minimally invasive techniques that is sometimes used to control non-small cell lung tumors. It’s an option for some patients who aren’t good candidates for surgery or radiation therapy because of their health or the size or location of their tumor.

Radiofrequency Ablation and Cryoablation

Interventional radiologists at Memorial Sloan Kettering have developed treatments using a technique called image-guided tumor ablation that can be used against non-small cell lung cancer.

Under anesthesia, during a procedure called percutaneous ablation, we use CT imaging to guide the placement of a needle into the tumor. The needle then applies extreme temperatures to the tumor, destroying it. There are two types of percutaneous ablation.

  • Cryoablation uses a very cold solution to freeze the tumor.
  • Radiofrequency ablation delivers high-energy electromagnetic waves to superheat the tumor.

Percutaneous ablation requires no incisions and is useful for patients whose tumors cannot be safely or effectively treated by surgery or radiation. Tumor ablation can also be used to destroy metastatic deposits in the bones that are causing pain.