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Keith D. Gray, MD, Assistant Professor, Surgery, recently performed open hepatic microwave ablation, the first such procedure in Tennessee. Microwave (MW) ablation, a relatively new hepatic ablation technique in the U.S., uses probe-directed microwave energy to ablate tumors. Compared to radiofrequency ablation, this technique offers the advantage of ablating tumors at higher temperatures (up to 150 C), killing tumors situated close to blood vessels, and ablating larger tumors.
Dr. Gray emphasizes that MW ablation does not replace surgical resection but can be used as an adjunct to surgery and with patients who are not good surgical candidates. Since his inaugural procedure, Dr. Gray has found hepatic microwave ablation to be a suitable option for other patients with a variety of the different malignant tumor types.
Similarly, J. Mark McKinney, MD, Chair, Interventional Radiology, recently was the first in the state to perform percutaneous hepatic microwave ablation. Overall, MW ablation expands the options available for patients with primary and metastatic liver tumors. Dr. Gray expects that the technique will find increasing appeal in the ablation of other solid organ tumors.
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