CT-Guided Radio Frequency (RF) Ablation

What is it?

Computed tomography (CT)-guided radio frequency ablation is a procedure utilizing electrical currents produced by radio waves to ablate (destroy) parts of the heart's electrical conduction system, tumors or other diseased tissue. It is a minimally invasive procedure where a needle is guided by an imaging source such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT or ultrasound to the affected area and the electrical currents are delivered.

What is it for?

Radio wave energy produces friction and heat which causes tumors or diseased tissues and cells to die.

How to prepare

  • You will be given instructions on what to eat and drink prior to the procedure
  • Consult with your doctor about medications you are taking


  • Some pain and discomfort

What happens during?

  • I.V. medicines will be used during the procedure
  • The procedure lasts for about 60 to 90 minutes
  • A CT scan is done to determine the precise area of the tumor
  • The skin near the tumor will be cleaned
  • Numbing medicine will be applied to the area of the skin
  • A needle will be inserted through the numbed skin into the tumor
  • Radio frequency energy waves are sent into the tumor through the needle
  • The needle is removed after the tumor cells have been destroyed
  • Your skin will be cleaned and bandaged

What happens after?

  • You will be observed for about two to four hours to ensure no complications develop
  • Upon going home, you should rest, avoid lifting heavy objects and do no physical exercise for 24 hours
  • Your doctor will advise you about which medications you can and can’t take after the procedure
  • You will be given results by your health care provider but you may need follow-up CT scans to check the tumor’s response to the ablation procedure

Side effects

It’s important to keep the skin clean and dry near the incision site to avoid infection.