5 Amazing Ways Radiofrequency Treatment Help Us (Other Than Skin Tightening)
Did you know that the same technology that keeps your skin tight and improves your complexion is the same procedure that deals with cancer?
Radiofrequency technology does not only affect your skin, but also certain types of cancers and even conditions such as sleep apnea.
Who hasn’t been touched by cancer in their lives?
As years have gone by, life threatening illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory diseases are becoming increasingly usual as compared before. Unhealthy lifestyle, pollution, stress, and many more have been blamed for this global problem.
Still, the numbers are getting bigger. For example, on average, 7.6 million people across the globe die from cancer each year.
From this total number, 4 million individuals aged 30 to 69 years old die prematurely. It is also expected that by the year 2025, there will be 6 million premature deaths per year.
What radiofrequency technology can do?
No matter who or what to blame for the rampant cases of these diseases, one thing is deemed important now. As the number of patients suffering from chronic diseases continue to increase, experts in the medical profession strive to discover new and effective treatment procedures aside from the conventional medical procedures and treatments widely accepted today.
Yes, everyone wants better health. That being said, you might probably agree that all of us would likely aim to work for it, even if it means that we should spend all the means that we have though the treatment we are opting for is less popular.
But what if this treatment method you deem unpopular is actually used in other medical conditions but is also effective on your case?
That’s exactly what radiofrequency technology is. Most of us, especially women, might have formerly believed that the technique in using radiofrequency energy is solely best for skin tightening, inducing the production of new collagen, and improving the skin’s overall health.
It’s true that RF is commonly used in the skincare industry. However, it is more than just a beauty regimen for the people who desire to look forever young. Medical specialists also use RF technology to treat various diseases rampant today. So with radio frequency therapy, people won’t simply look young, but stay young inside and out by renewing damaged tissues.
Radio frequency treatments available today
Aside from the popularly known radio frequency skin tightening treatments in the field of dermatology, RF energy is also applied in medical procedures used to treat medical conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic pain.
It is also applicable in some respiratory-related diseases.
We know that diseases such as cancer make use of other treatments that patients and medical practitioners choose. Chemotherapy in particular might be the first word that comes to mind when it comes to common cancer treatments. However, there are also other methods that make use of RF.
Similarly, RF treatments might not also be as popular as surgery in some cardiovascular conditions.
But recent findings suggest that radiofrequency energy treatments could be the better option for some patients than other known medical procedures.
So, what are these other amazing RF treatments other than skin tightening? Read on.
#1 Radiofrequency ablation for cancer (RFA for cancer)
This radio frequency cancer treatment performed by medical practitioners makes use of electrical energy and heat produced by radio waves to remove cancer cells, destroy cancer tissues, relieve cancer symptoms, or decrease the size of tumors.
RFA usually takes 1 to 3 hours to complete the procedure.
As the word “ablation” implies, which means to completely destroy, kill, or eradicate, radiofrequency ablation as a cancer treatment aims to get rid of tumors or cancer cells. In some cases, RFA is not the main cancer treatment given to a patient. Rather, it could be given along with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery.
How RFA is done
First, during an RFA treatment session, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area that will be treated, and a sedative to make you drowsy. However, a general anesthetic is given if the area that will be treated is bigger.
Once this is done, the patient undergoes a CT scan or an ultrasound scan to enable the doctor to locate where the probes that will be used during the RFA will be placed.
These scans are used for guiding the probes that are 1 or 2 mm across to make its way through your skin to the tumor or the cancer tissues that the RFA aims to destroy.
These probes are the thin needles where the radiofrequency energy passes. As the needle enters the area being treated, the tissue will heat up and eventually, this will lead to the destruction of the cancer cells or reduction of the size of a tumor.
If there are several tumors, the doctor uses several probes as well.
Cancer areas RFA can treat
Radio frequency ablation is usually used to treat both primary and secondary cancer.
Primary cancer means that the tumor grew in the area where the cancer has originated, while secondary cancer means that the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body, thus causing tumor to grow around the area where the cancer has not really originated.
- PRIMARY LUNG CANCER
RFA for primary lung cancer works best in early stages and in tumors smaller than 3.5 cm. This treatment could also be an option, if the patient could not undergo surgery or choose not to have it. RFA is also advisable if the tumor is close to the area outside the lungs.
- SECONDARY LUNG CANCER
Similar with the primary lung cancer, RFA can work best for this condition if the tumor is smaller than 3.5 cm and close to the outside of the lungs. Nevertheless, this treatment could still be performed if the patient has tumors within the lung’s center or if the tumors are larger than 3.5 cm.
- PRIMARY LIVER CANCER
For people with liver cancer, RFA is suitable if the tumors are smaller than 5 cm. Although this treatment works best in that condition, patients can still have it for several repeated sessions if they have tumors larger than 5cm.
Aside from liver cancer, a patient who has a liver disease called cirrhosis could also undergo a radiofrequency ablation.
- SECONDARY LIVER CANCER
In some cases, the cancer from the breasts or bowel could spread to the liver. Neuroendocrine cancers could also do so. In these conditions, a doctor may also recommend that a patient could undergo radio frequency ablation treatment.
- KIDNEY CANCER
RFA can be used to treat tumors that are up to 5cm in size. But it works best if the tumor is smaller than 3cm. It is also suitable for tumors close outside the kidney. In most cases, removal of the kidney affected by cancer is recommended. However, it is not applicable to some individuals, thus, RFA is applied instead.
These are the main forms of cancer that RFA can treat. Other research states that radiofrequency ablation treatment is also applicable to cancer in the bone or prostate. It may also be suggested for patients who have Barrett’s esophagus, which is a change in the cells lining in the food pipe.
Nonetheless, patients should carefully discuss their condition with their respective doctors.
Patients who can have RFA
Radiofrequency ablation as a cancer treatment procedure is applicable mostly to individuals like the following:
1. Anyone whose condition is too risky for a more invasive treatment,
2. if there are several tumors very near or on the organ,
3. or if the patient can’t have a general anesthetic.
#2 Radiofrequency nerve block
Perhaps, you are one of the many individuals who are already tired of enduring chronic pain brought about by degenerative changes. Lower back pain, leg pain, or neck pain—whatever it is that you are feeling, one thing is certain. All you want is a pain relief that would finally ease your discomfort.
If this is your case, then, radio frequency nerve block, or radio frequency nerve ablation might be the treatment suited for you. Radiofrequency ablation for nerve pain is a procedure used through a specialized machine, which aims to interrupt nerve conduction within 6 to 9 months.
What radio nerve ablation entails
The procedure makes use of radiofrequency energy which generates heat and is transmitted through needles targeted on a facet joint nerve. The process is done to destroy the nerve that causes pain. The treatment usually lasts within two hours. Then, the nerve is blocked for about 6 to 9 months.
Doctors recommend this procedure to patients who suffer from low back pain caused by facet joint disease, occipital neuralgia, abdominal pain, rhizotomy, ganglionotomy, coccygodynia and rectalgia.
Some may not be comfortable at learning how this treatment is done, but research reveals that the procedure doesn’t normally cause many serious side effects and complications. A few side effects may include muscle soreness for a week, and hypersensitivity or burning sensation that normally lasts for a period of one week also.
#3 Radiofrequency denervation of lumbar facet joints
The lumbar radiofrequency ablation procedure works very similar with the rf nerve block. Like the process in nerve block, the lumbar facet radiofrequency also makes use of special needles where the heat created by radio waves is transmitted and causes the destruction of the nerve targeted.
The difference between the two procedures is how long the relief provided was effective. The effect of the nerve block only lasts for a few months while the lumbar radiofrequency ablation success rate shows that 50% of the patients who have undergone radiofrequency ablation lumbar experienced a long-lasting relief of up to two years after the treatment.
However, after two years, the nerve destroyed might regenerate again. If you want to repeat the session, you may do so, of course, with the guidance of your physician.
What should be done before and after a radiofrequency lumbar treatment?
Before the treatment, a patient should carefully discuss with his or her physician the dietary restrictions, use of blood-thinning medicines such as aspirin, and questions related to the medical condition.
After the procedure a patient must not drive, or plunge and swim in the pool, or go for a dip in a bathtub or Jacuzzi.
#4 Radio frequency cavitation
With many fast food chains emerging and popping up everywhere, obesity becomes widespread even more. Of course, we are not blaming it all to the fast food industry. Personal choices still matter. It is still someone’s choice to eat healthy.
But if you want to have a healthy body and apparently, healthy weight, get rid of those excess fats you have deposited over time. Just wait. You don’t need to undergo liposuction for that. Cavitation and radiofrequency can do the job for you.
The non-invasive cavitation radio frequency uses heat to destroy fat cells in your body, giving you a firmer skin free from excess fats. What’s more convenient with the RF energy is that it can be a radio frequency treatment for face that has excess fats, too.
#5 Radiofrequency ablation for atrial fibrillation
Radiofrequency ablation for atrial fibrillation is a nonsurgical procedure used to treat the abnormal beating of the heart.
Atrial fibrillation which is the abnormal heart rhythm happens when rapid electrical signals cause the upper chambers of the heart to contract too quickly and chaotically.
It affects 33.5 million people around the world, which makes up 0.5% of the population. A person who has this disease will be 5 times more likely have a stroke. 70% of the individuals who have atrial fibrillation are from the ages 65 to 85.
How RF can correct atrial fibrillation
Using a catheter with an electrode at its tip, mild radiofrequency energy is transmitted to the damaged muscle area of the heart that causes its abnormal rhythm. The RF energy destroys the heart muscle cells that cause the rapid and abnormal heartbeats.
Based on the studies, the radio frequency catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation is safe and effective. It has a success rate of 90% among the patients who have undergone the treatment. Moreover, it is a widely accepted medical procedure recommended by physicians.
As a reminder again though, this treatment is no joke. Your specialist has a wider and deeper understanding on this medical procedure.
More uses for RF treatments
Aside from everything that’s mentioned above, radio frequency energy is also used to treat medical conditions such as sleep apnea and chronic nasal obstruction. More than 100 million individuals around the globe suffer from sleep apnea. Patients who have this disorder stop breathing while sleeping. Sleep apnea can be categorized as mild or severe.
Meanwhile, chronic stuffy nose could also make a person’s life extra difficult. One of the possible causes of a stuffy nose is rhinitis which is the inflammation of the mucus membranes. When someone has this illness, breathing is a bit difficult and could sometimes deprive the patient the quality of sleep he deserves.
For sleep apnea, some doctors use the radiofrequency ablation of the tongue as base treatment, in which a regulated amount of RF energy is targeted to the base of the tongue, reducing the size of the affected tissue which will then prevent the tongue from blocking the airway when the patient is sleeping.
On the other hand, a group of physicians deemed the treatment known as radiofrequency turbinate reduction as a fast, and effective relief for chronic nasal obstruction, of course, by means of rf energy.
Yes, radiofrequency doesn’t fail to amaze us
Who would have thought that the radio frequency energy can do so many amazing things? And what’s more, these amazing things are in line with the betterment of our health conditions.
Before, we used to think that radio frequency serves the purpose of skin tightening, but we discovered that there are a lot more wonders it can do for us.
To sum everything up, radio frequency can be used in many medical fields. Radio frequency ablation can be used for primary and secondary liver cancer, lung cancer, and kidney cancer. It can also be used to destroy the nerve that causes chronic pain, and the result of this treatment may last for up to two years.
Rather than opting for liposuction or other surgical fat removal methods, a patient may also resort to radiofrequency treatment to get rid of unwanted fats. RF is also deemed as a solution for some specific heart diseases such as the atrial fibrillation. RF can also treat sleep apnea and chronic nasal obstruction.
Truly, radio frequency can do so many amazing things for us. All we have to do is to discover and learn how we can make the most out of this technology. Now is the time to equip yourself a better knowledge. Learn more about radio frequency treatments now.