Narrator: This is Science Today. Killing tumors with heat has been practiced since ancient times, but not until recently has this technology been delivered in a safe, modern way. Now, surgeons at the University of California, San Francisco are the first in the nation to use heat treatment for liver cancer, in combination with laparoscopic surgery. Dr. Allan Siperstein says other centers use heat treatment with open surgery.
Siperstein: Instead of making a large incision in the abdominal wall, we enter the abdomen through two tiny little openings, one for a camera and one for an ultrasound machine, so that we can then map out where the tumors are within the liver and then precisely position the tip of this needle within the tumor, to apply the electrical energy to a very focused area.
Narrator: The tumor is destroyed within 10 minutes and the patient can usually go home the next day.
Siperstein: It has very little impact in terms of their quality of life. Yes, they are under the weather for a few days after the procedure, but then at least within a week, they are pretty much back to normal.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.