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Radiofrequency Ablation of Osseous Lesions Now Available

Additional treatment and pain relief for metastatic osseous lesions is now locally available. Benjamin E. Northrup, MD, with Northland Radiology, Inc., is one of only a handful of interventional radiologists in the Kansas City metro area who perform targeted radiofrequency ablation of metastatic osseous lesions. “Targeted radiofrequency ablation is a localized, minimally invasive procedure that can drastically reduce pain for patients with debilitating lesions in the spine and other bones,” Dr. Northrup said. It can be performed concurrently with radiation and chemotherapy. While not curative, this pain-relieving procedure offers local control of lesions.

“This procedure not only provides a bridge to other treatments and reduces pain, it also helps reduce the use of opioids and their complications.”

Pain Relief

Targeted radiofrequency ablation has proven to significantly reduce pain due to osseous metastatic lesions. Pain relief is immediate, allowing patients to more easily continue their primary cancer therapy and to enjoy improved quality of life.
Pain Score

Population Benefits

Several specific patient populations may benefit from t-RFA. Those populations include patients with:

  • Radiation-resistant tumors
  • Persistent and/or recurrent pain after radiation therapy
  • Posterior vertebral body metastatic tumors
  • Localized pain and symptoms that prevent palliative radiation
  • Myelosuppression concerns

It may also help patients who:

  • Have reached their maximum radiation dose limit
  • Cannot undergo palliative treatment due to concurrent systemic treatments
  • Can no longer tolerate lying down to receive radiation

Additional Benefits

Biopsies for tissue diagnosis and tumor analysis can be conducted during this procedure, prior to the ablation. And, if the vertebral body is unstable, Dr. Northrup performs a vertebroplasty, a procedure during which he injects radiopaque bone cement through the working cannula into the void left by the ablated tumor. This method of vertebral stabilization does not interfere with ongoing radiation treatment, and it helps prevent resultant compression fractures. It also allows for precise targeting of the affected vertebral body at subsequent imaging.

Metastatic RCC Case Study

The Procedure

During the outpatient procedure, he makes a 3 mm incision in the back and guides a radiofrequency ablation probe to the tumor. He performs t-RFA in the new interventional radiology suite at North Kansas City Hospital. The suite’s CT capabilities feature pinpoint accuracy to identify the ablation site, allowing Dr. Northrup to avoid healthy tissue and structures, which speeds recovery . While treatment of one site (a one- to two-hour procedure) is standard, up to three sites can be treated at one time if the patient can tolerate the sedation. Bone density affects procedural time because the lesion must be heated to 50°C to destroy the cancerous cells.


Contraindications include:

  • Inability to tolerate sedation
  • Anticoagulation use
  • Tumors that have invaded nerves or large vessels

Benjamin E. Northrup, MD

Benjamin Northrup, MDDr. Northrup earned his medical degree at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He completed an internal medicine internship at Washington University School of Medicine and his radiology residency at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. Additionally, he completed a musculoskeletal imaging and intervention fellowship at MIR.