Interventional Radiology Treatments for Lung Mets

Interventional radiology plays a huge role in the treatment of lung metastases by various minimally invasive techniques. It is really important to have an interventional radiologist on your multidisciplinary treatment team. Interventional radiologists have developed treatments using a technique called image-guided tumor ablation that can be used against metastatic lung tumors.

Under anesthesia, during a procedure called percutaneous ablation, we use CT imaging to guide the placement of a needle into the tumor. The needle then applies extreme temperatures to the tumor, destroying it. There are three types of percutaneous ablation.

  • Cryoablation: uses a very cold solution to freeze the tumor.

  • Radiofrequency ablation: delivers high-energy electromagnetic waves to superheat the tumor.

  • Microwave ablation: treated by using heat energy.

Percutaneous ablation requires no incisions and is useful for patients whose tumors cannot be safely or effectively treated by surgery or radiation.

Interventional radiologists can also assist with symptom control.

Thoracentesis:  a procedure to remove fluid from the space between the lining of the outside of the lungs (pleura) and the wall of the chest

There is usually little fluid (about 4 teaspoons!) in the pleural cavity. A buildup of too much fluid between the layers of the pleura is called a pleural effusion. When extra fluid presses on the lungs, it can make it hard to breathe.

Why is thoracentesis performed?

Pleural effusion is very uncomfortable. The procedure is performed to relieve the symptoms of fluid buildup and increase patient comfort.  The procedure usually takes from 10 to 15 minutes. However, it may take longer if there is a lot of fluid to be removed. Generally, the patient is observed for a few hours.