Radiofrequency ablation of head and neck tumors: Dramatic results from application of a new technology

Randall P. Owen, Thanjavur S. Ravikumar, Carl E. Silver, Jonathan Beitler, Scott Wadler, Jacqueline Bello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a new treatment modality used over the past decade predominantly in the treatment of unresectable liver tumors. We find no prior reported series on the use of RFA for malignant tumors of the head and neck. Methods. Four patients with recurrent tongue tumors not amenable to standard surgical or radiation therapy were treated with RFA administered transorally, endoscopically, or percutaneously. Results. There was no perioperative mortality. Significant palliation was achieved consisting of substantial reduction in tumor size and alleviation of tumor-induced pain. One patient has survived for 8 months with no progression of tumor. Three patients had complications, including line sepsis, pneumonia, and enlargement of an orocutaneous fistula. Conclusions. RFA was relatively straightforward to apply, achieved substantial palliation, and was associated with minimal perioperative morbidity and no mortality. It might easily be combined with other therapies such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation. Further investigation is necessary and ongoing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-758
Number of pages5
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 19 2002


  • Alternative treatment
  • Cancer
  • Head and neck
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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