More news from the "microwaves in applied science" front. A new minimally-invasive option for treating liver tumors, called microwave ablation, is now available at UC San Diego Medical Center and Moores UCSD Cancer Center, the only hospitals in the region to offer this technology to patients. “Microwave ablation causes the tumor to be quickly and precisely removed. If necessary, multiple tumors can be treated at the same time,” said Marquis Hart, MD, transplant surgeon at UC San Diego Medical Center. “This method appears to be more efficient than other ablation techniques which translates to better tumor destruction and less time for the patient under general anesthesia.”
To perform the procedure, Hart accesses the tumor through the skin, or through a small laparoscopic port or open incision. With ultrasound guidance or a computed tomography (CT) scan, the tumor is located and then pierced with a thin antenna which emits microwaves. This energy spins the water molecules in the tumor producing friction which causes heat. Temperatures above 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) cause cellular death, usually within 10 minutes.
In addition to liver disease, microwave ablation has promising potential in the treatment of lung, kidney, and bone cancer. Studies using microwave or radio frequency ablation for the treatment of cancer has been in the works for several years. Apparently the studies were sucessful and the technology is going mainstream.