Skip to main content

Radiofrequency Ablation of the Liver


Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure that uses electrical currents to destroy cancer cells in the liver. A needle electrode delivers an electrical current that creates heat and destroys the tumor. This procedure is commonly used for small tumors.


Call 911 for the following:

  • You have chest pain or shortness of breath.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain that does not get better with medicine.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You continue to have pain a week after your procedure.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return within a month for a CT scan or MRI of your liver. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Rest as needed:

Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed by your healthcare provider.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Radiofrequency Ablation of the Liver (Discharge Care)

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.