What is the role of anesthesia in percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of liver tumors?

Updated: Mar 30, 2021
  • Author: Badar Bin Bilal Shafi, MBBS, MRCP, FRCR, CCT, EBIR; Chief Editor: Kurt E Roberts, MD  more...
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Percutaneous RFA can be performed with local anesthesia and mild sedation. Deep sedation or general anesthesia can also be used. The modality of anesthesia depends on the patient's choice and the operator's preferences. For more information, see Local Anesthetic Agents, Infiltrative Administration and Procedural Sedation.

In a day-case setting, the local anesthetic is injected into the site where the skin incision is planned, and the patient is sedated by an intravenous injection. The patient is often able to go home the same day. If general anesthesia is not used, discomfort or pain may be felt while the area is being ablated. Day-case treatments for RFA are becoming more common.

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