Some organ tumors are simply too difficult to surgically resect and may not be responsive to chemotherapy. In interventional radiology, eligible patients have a further option of having their tumor ablated using a method akin to a microwave.
A probe is inserted into the tumor and heated until the tumor vaporizes. The Martha Jefferson Interventional Radiologists have been performing the procedure on liver tumors for some time, but in recent years the constantly evolving techniques have reduced patient time on the table to a matter of minutes.
The ablation procedure has also been used on small kidney tumors in lieu of a nephrectomy and most recently, on small lung tumors.
The interventionalists can also assist the surgeon prior to the removal of kidney tumors by performing pre-operative embolizations so that there is less blood loss during surgery.
Chemoembolization of liver tumors is yet another procedural option performed in VIR. It may be indicated for patients with disease that is primarily confined to the liver but which is not responding adequately to systemic treatments. A catheter is placed directly into the artery feeding the vascular lesions and a chemotherapeutic agent mixed with material to block off the blood flow is infused.