Cutting-edge kidney cancer procedure, without the cutting

Life & Health

Kidney cancer is one of the top ten most common cancers and often leads to surgical removal of that organ. But now, there’s a cutting-edge procedure, that doesn’t use cutting.

When most of us think of microwaves, we think of dinner and leftovers, but for doctors, there’s a new treatment that can use that microwave heat to save lives.

Ryan Anguiano got the scare of his life when he went to the doctor with what he thought was colitis.

“He saw something on my kidney and more than likely, 60 percent chance that it was gonna be cancer and he needed to take part of my kidney, or my whole kidney out,” explains Ryan.

That’s when Ryan’s wife stepped in.

“My wife says we should probably seek a second opinion before we move forward with this,” say Ryan.

That second opinion saved Ryan’s kidney.

Dr. Justin Muhlenberg, Interventional Radiologist, M & S Radiology Associates, says, “I can perform the ablation and after we’re done I can tell the patient the tumor is gone.”

How does ablation work?

“It’s a needle or a probe that you can insert into a tumor, and you can turn the probe on and it delivers enough heat causing destruction of tissue around the tip of the probe,” explains Dr. Muhlenberg.

CT scans and ultrasound imaging help guide the probe, which uses microwave energy to heat the tumor, destroying it. Saline solution keeps it cool.

Dr. Muhlenberg adds, “We can slowly guide the needle directly into the tumor, as we turn on the microwave generator, we see that slowly the tissue gets destroyed. What’s going to be left there at the end of the process is just a scar.”

That was a sweet post-op surprise for Ryan.

He says, “I was sitting there thinking I was all bandaged up and I rolled over and asked, ‘how bad is it,’ and my wife said, ‘you have a band-aid. It looks like a paper cut!”

The only visible sign of Ryan’s battle with a kidney tumor. Ryan was fortunate. His tumor was benign.

Dr. Muhlenberg says with new improvements to the technology, interventional radiologists are able to treat larger zones and destroy more abnormal tissue.

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