Radiofrequency and microwave ablation of the liver, lung, kidney, and bone: what are the differences?

Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. May-Jun 2009;38(3):135-43. doi: 10.1067/j.cpradiol.2007.10.001.


Radiofrequency (RF) ablation is becoming an accepted treatment modality for many tumors of the liver and is being explored for tumors in the lung, kidney, and bone. While RF energy is the most familiar heat source for tissue ablation, it has certain limitations that may hamper its efficacy in these new organ systems. Microwave energy may be a better source for tissue ablation but has technical hurdles that must be overcome as well. This article outlines the physics behind RF and microwave heating, discusses relevant properties of the liver, lung, kidney, and bone for thermal ablation and examines the roles of RF and microwave ablation in these tissues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone and Bones / surgery*
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / surgery*
  • Liver / surgery*
  • Lung / surgery*
  • Microwaves / therapeutic use*