Interventional oncology has emerged as a revolutionary field in modern medicine, combining the precision of radiology with the urgency of oncology. Novel approaches have emerged as we strive to improve cancer care quality while minimizing the mental and physical toll on patients. Among these, cryoablation is a powerful and versatile technique with distinct advantages that set it apart from other ablation methods.
From its ability to preserve vital surrounding tissue to its potential to stimulate an immune response, cryoablation is a testament to medical innovation and patient-centric care. Modern technology, such as that developed by leaders in the field, such as IceCure Medical , has significantly impacted the treatment’s efficacy.
Ablation in Interventional Oncology
Ablation is a medical procedure that doesn’t need significant cuts and is used in cancer treatment. It uses heat, cold, electricity, or chemicals to eliminate abnormal cells.
This method is excellent for destroying cancer cells that are tricky to reach, like those in the liver, lungs, or kidneys. It can also work on cancer cells that have spread to other body parts, like lymph nodes and breast tissue.
There are many different ablation methods, each with good and not-so-good sides. The type of ablation chosen depends on the kind of cancer and where it’s found. All in all, ablation is much easier on the body than old-fashioned surgeries.
Various Types of Ablation
RFA uses heat to get rid of tissue. It’s usually used for treating cancer but can also help with benign growths, blood vessel problems, and pain. During RFA, doctors put a thin needle into the area that needs treatment. Then, they send a strong electric current through the needle. This current makes heat that gets rid of the unwanted tissue.
MWA is a way to treat cancer and can also help with other problems like benign growth and issues with blood vessels. During MWA, doctors insert a thin needle into the area that needs treatment. They then send microwaves through the needle. These microwaves greatly warm up the tissue, making it thicken and die.
High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound
HIFU is a method that uses sound waves to warm up and break apart tissue. It’s often used to treat cancer but can also be useful for harmless growths, uterine fibroids, and prostate cancer. During HIFU, a tool called a transducer is placed on the skin over the part that needs treatment. This tool sends sound waves into the tissue.
Laser ablation is a method that uses an intense laser beam to break down tissue. The laser beam is aimed at the specific tissue to be treated in this process. The laser beam makes the tissue heat up and turn into vapor. After that, a stream of gas blows away the vaporized tissue.
IRE uses quick bursts of electrical solid pulses to make tiny holes in cell membranes. These holes let ions and molecules move in and out of the cells quickly, which eventually causes the cells to die.
Cryoablation uses freezing temperatures to damage and remove tissue. It’s not only for cancer but also works for non-cancer problems like harmless tumors and blood vessel issues.
In this method, doctors put special tools called cryoprobes into the area they want to treat. These cryoprobes freeze tissue, freezing and killing the cells. After that, the body naturally removes the dead cells to heal itself.
What are the Benefits of Cryoablation?
Preservation of Surrounding Tissue
Cryoablation excels in selectively eliminating cancerous tissue while safeguarding nearby healthy tissue. Carefully freezing the target area minimizes harm to neighboring structures, nerves, and blood vessels. This is crucial when treating tumors near vital organs, preserving normal function. The capacity to spare healthy tissue enhances patient outcomes and lowers complications risk.
In cryoablation, real-time imaging like ultrasound, CT, or MRI tracks the freezing process. This ongoing monitoring enables precise control of tissue freezing, ensuring accurate treatment. This enhances procedure precision, minimizing the chance of over- or under-treatment and optimizing therapy results.
Tumor Treatment Size Metrics
Tumors are effectively treated by cryoablation, which outperforms specific other methods. This expanded treatment capability provides an option for patients with larger tumors who may not be eligible for specific other ablation techniques due to tumor size.
Less Pain and Discomfort
Cryoablation is associated with reduced pain and discomfort for patients during and after the procedure. The cooling effect of cryoablation can help alleviate pain, making it a more comfortable experience for patients. This benefit contributes to a smoother recovery process and better patient satisfaction.
Potential Immune Response
There is evidence to suggest that cryoablation may stimulate an immune response. It destroys tumor cells through cryoablation and releases antigens and signals that could trigger the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells elsewhere in the body.
The option to repeat the procedure multiple times provides flexibility in handling treatment. This is particularly important when dealing with new tumors or cancer cells that might remain after the first round of treatment. It allows for continuous changes to the approach based on how the patient responds. This adaptability ensures that the medical team can fine-tune their strategy to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient’s health.
Cryoablation requires smaller incisions or entry points than older surgical methods. This advancement results in more minor patient scars, a significant advantage. These tiny scars are beneficial from a cosmetic standpoint and play a crucial role in ensuring patients feel satisfied with their treatment experience. This combination of medical progress and attention to patient comfort leads to a more reassuring and contented post-treatment journey.
It’s important to note that the choice of ablation method depends on various factors, including the tumor type, size, location, and the patient’s overall health. While cryoablation offers unique benefits, each ablation technique has its advantages and limitations. The decision regarding the most appropriate ablation approach should be made in consultation with a medical professional specializing in interventional oncology and considering the patient’s specific characteristics and tumor.