Interventional Radiology

Ablation and Lung Cancer

Ablation is a minimally invasive, nonsurgical technique that can be used to treat lung cancers using only a special needle, called a probe. The probe uses radiofrequency or microwave energy to burn the cancer to death. It is also called Percutaneous Ablation, Radiofrequency Ablation, RF Ablation and Microwave Ablation.

Lung Cancer

Cancer can start in the lung or spread (metastasize) to the lung. The most common types of cancer that start in the lung are Bronchogenic Carcinoma, Adenocarcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Non-Small Cell Carcinoma and Small Cell Carcinoma. Many types of cancer commonly spread to the lung. In the right patient, ablation can be used to treat any of these types of cancer. Some common symptoms of lung cancer include a cough, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, chest pain, weight loss and low energy.

Treatment with Ablation

Ablation uses extreme heat to burn tumors to death. An interventional radiologist inserts a special needle, called a probe, through the skin into the tumor using a CT scan for guidance. The probe then releases radiofrequency or microwave energy into the tumor, heating it. This kills the tumor while sparing normal lung cells. No surgery or cutting is necessary.

What to Expect

First, you will meet with an interventional radiologist who specializes in ablation to determine whether lung cancer ablation is right for you. You may have testing to see how well your lungs work. If you haven’t already, you may have a CT or PET/CT scan.

On the day of your treatment, you will come to the Aspirus Wausau Hospital. You will speak again with your interventional radiologist before your procedure. The procedure takes about 1 hour. After the procedure, you will usually be observed in the hospital overnight, although some patients can go home the same day.


Schedule a consult with an interventional radiologist to discuss lung cancer and ablation.