New technique uses laser on tumors

Oct. 19, 2010 at 1:18 AM
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Mayo Clinic physicians in Florida say they are using a magnetic resonance imaging-guided laser to heat up and destroy kidney and liver tumors.

Dr. Eric Walser, an interventional radiologist who pioneered the ablation technique at the Florida Mayo Clinic, says it is in the development stage, but may be beneficial against most tumors in the body if there are only a few within an organ and are less than 2 inches in size.

Patients who have pacemakers or metallic implants are prohibited from the procedure since it is done inside an MRI machine.

"Laser ablation offers us a way to precisely target and kill tumors without harming the rest of an organ," Walser says in a statement.

During the 2.5-minute outpatient procedure, a special non-metal needle is inserted directly into a tumor and the laser is turned on to deliver light energy and physicians watch the temperature as it rises, Walser says.

When the tumor and a bit of tissue that surrounds it is heated to the point of destruction the laser is turned off.

Patients are given anesthesia because they should not move during the procedure, Walser says.

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