Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat:
Ablation procedure blocked impulses that had been causing atrial fibrillation.
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Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
The probe will be inserted into or directly up against the abnormal tissue. CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI scan images may be used to help guide the probe. In some cases, once the probe is inserted, a number of electrodes will be placed into the area. This will let the doctor treat a larger area of tissue.
A small amount of heat will be introduced through the probe. The heat will destroy the abnormal tissue. The probe may be repositioned to destroy other areas of tissue.
You will be monitored for 2-3 hours after the procedure.
About 10-60 minutes
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
It may be possible to leave the hospital on the same day of the procedure. You may need to stay overnight for your doctor to monitor you. Speak to your doctor to see if this is an option in your case.
Do not drive within the first 24 hours after the procedure. You may be asked to avoid strenuous activities.
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Cancer Society
Radiology Info—The Radiological Society of North America
BC Cancer Agency
Canadian Cancer Society
Cardiac procedures and surgeries. American Heart Association website. Available at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/Cardiac-Procedures-and-Surgeries_UCM_303939_Article.jsp. Updated october 24, 2014. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Gazelle GS, Goldberg SN, et al. Tumor ablation with radio-frequency energy. Radiology. 2000;217(3):633.
Interventional radiology. The Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/sitemap/category.cfm?category=ir&bhcp=1. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Radiofrequency ablation background. National Institutes of Health website. Available at http://www.cc.nih.gov/drd/rfa/background.html. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Michael J. Fucci, DO