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Radiofrequency Ablation of the Lung


Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure that uses electrical currents to destroy cancer cells in your lung. A needle electrode delivers an electrical current that creates heat and destroys the tumor.


Call 911 for the following:

  • You have shortness of breath.
  • You are breathing faster than usual.
  • Your heart is beating faster than usual.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are spitting up blood.
  • You have severe chest pain that does not get better with medicine.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You continue to have chest 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 for a CT scan, PET scan, or MRI of your lungs. 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.

Air travel:

Your healthcare provider may recommend that you avoid traveling in an airplane after RFA. The air pressure in the airplane can cause your lung to collapse. Ask your healthcare provider when you can travel in an airplane.

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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 Lung (Discharge Care)

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Further information

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