The Mayo Clinic on Tuesday said its Florida campus is the first to use a MRI-guided laser ablation to heat and destroy kidney and liver tumors.
According to the Mayo Clinic, five patients were treated with no tumors remaining after the procedure. MRI-guided laser treatments are becoming a key cancer weapon. Mayo Clinic's Rochester, Minn. campus used the laser to zap prostate tumors too.
The Mayo Clinic acknowledged in a blog post that the treatment is still in the development phase, but there's optimism that the laser technique can be used against most tumors. Breast tumors are also a possibility for this treatment. The treatment works best when there are only a few tumors in an organ and they are about 2 inches in diameter. The idea behind MRI-guided laser ablation is to knock out tumors without opening up the body and suffering side effects.
Folks with metallic implants and pacemakers can't be candidates since the procedure is done inside an MRI machine.
Laser ablation is used to treat brain, spine and prostate tumors, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the technique for any tumor. Mayo is now adapting the tool to other tumors.
Here's how it works:
It's an outpatient procedure where a patient is under anesthesia so he doesn't move.
The patient is inside an open MRI machine, which monitors tumor temperatures.
A non-metal needle goes into the tumor and the laser is turned on.
Doctors watch the temperature rise to track the heat.
The tumor and small amount of tissue surrounding it are destroyed.
If the tumor is large there are several needles.
Side effects include flu-like symptoms as the body absorbs the zapped tissue.
The process can be done in 90 seconds.
Here's a video explaining the process.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com