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Gangaram doctors use unique method to treat gallbladder cancer in a patient unfit for operation

In a  first-of-its-kind case, doctors from the Department of Interventional Radiology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital carried out a unique procedure on a 55-year-old female patient, in whom it was not possible to be treated with surgery, to manage her gallbladder cancer.

The patient suffered from cancer in her gall bladder, which later spread to her liver. 

The doctors chose a new modality in the form of cryoablation to manage the life-threatening condition.

Dr Ajit Yadav, Consultant, Department of Interventional Radiology, said, “Cryoablation is a minimally invasive treatment to kill cancer cells with extremely cold gases. It works on the principle of the 'freeze-thaw-freeze' cycle. A thin needle- called a cryoprobe is placed directly into the cancer, under ultrasound or CT scan guidance.”

“The cryoprobe circulates extremely cold gas like liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill cancer cells. Then the tissue is allowed to thaw. Finally, another cycle of freezing is performed. The time required depends on the size, location, and type of tumour,” he added.

Generally, cryoablation can also be used for the management of other types of cancers, including lung, kidney, bone, liver and breast. The procedure takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.

It is safe and the risks involved are generally lower than that of surgery. An additional advantage of cryoablation is that it can be repeated if required.

Dr Arun Gupta, Chairperson and Senior Consultant, Department of Interventional Radiology, “For the first time in North India, we chose cryoablation for this patient as the cancer was relatively large and very close to liver vessels and other vital structures. Cryoablation ensured complete ablation of cancer, which could also be visualized in the form of an ice ball on CT scan.”

Dr Raghav Seth, Associate Consultant, Department of Interventional Radiology, “Describing the advantages of this technique over other types of ablations, Cryoablation is associated with fewer side effects, is pain-free with faster recovery, gives better-defined treatment margin and causes less damage to surrounding tissue.” 

 The doctors said, “With the advent of Cryoablation, our department is now fully equipped to treat these types of cancers with all types of ablation techniques-Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), Microwave Ablation (MWA) and Cryoablation, under one roof. We are sure that this technology will be very beneficial for the suffering cancer patients.”

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