News, Announcements and Expert Commentary from Inova

Targeting the Pain: New ablation procedure helps provide cancer pain relief

View the latest issue of inHealth (PDF) (October 3, 2013) A procedure called targeted-Radiofrequency Ablation (t-RFA) for bone metastatic lesions on the spine has provided immediate pain relief for cancer patients, according to Sandeep Bagla, MD, interventional radiologist at Inova Mount Vernon and Inova Alexandria hospitals.

Dr. Sandeep Bagla “This technology is really a breakthrough because for years we’ve had [t-RFA] for lungs, kidneys and other bones, but we haven’t had the ability to target spine tumors,” says Dr. Bagla.

Being able to target spine tumors with this procedure means that doctors can relieve pain and immediately give cancer patients a better quality of life. Patients with all types of cancers — from breast cancer to multiple myeloma — benefit from the procedure because many cancers metastasize and cause lesions on the spine. “Any patient with back pain and a diagnosis of cancer to the lower spine or backbone may be a candidate,” says Dr. Bagla.

This is a major advancement for patients when compared to traditional treatments, which “involve placing a needle into the bones of the spinal column and administering medical-grade cement after destroying the tumor with radiofrequency ablation,” he says. Traditional pain relief treatments include spine radiation, which can take up to two to three weeks to produce effects and may fail to provide pain relief in a portion of patients.

The t-RFA procedure can be performed outpatient with local anesthesia through a small incision. The patient can leave the same day.

Click to learn more about Interventional Radiology at Inova

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Click to see more news and articles from Inova Mount Vernon Hospital in the Summer / Fall 2013 issue of INhealth magazine:  Read more arrow

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