Percutaneous Ablation (The James)

Percutaneous Ablation

What is Percutaneous Ablation?

Percutaneous Ablation is a procedure done through the skin that kills tumors using a thermal (hot or cold) based energy. During this procedure, a CT scan or ultrasound is done to find the exact location of your tumor. A specially trained doctor (radiologist) will place a small needle through your skin into in your tumor. The needle is then hooked up to a machine that produces an intense energy that kills (ablates) your tumor.


How do I prepare for the procedure?

Tell your doctor if you take any medicines or supplements that thin your blood or prevent clots. You may need to change these medicines or adjust the amount you take before your procedure is done.

  • These medicines include:
    • Aspirin
    • Clopidogrel, brand name Plavix
    • Prasugrel, brand name Effient
    • Ticagrelor, brand name Brilinta
    • Apixaban, brand name Eliquis
    • Ticlopidine, brand name Ticlid
    • Warfarin, brand name Coumadin
    • Enoxaparin, brand name Lovenox
    • Dabigatran, brand name Pradaxa
    • Fondaparinux, brand name Arixtra
    • Rivaroxaban, brand name Xarelto
    • Cilostazol, brand name Pletal
    • Edoxaban, brand name Savaysa
  • If you have a stent, do not stop taking your medicines to prevent clots without first talking to the doctor who put in the stent. For more information, ask a member of your health care team for the patient education handout on protecting your stent.
  • If you take aspirin or medicines like aspirin for arthritis pain, your doctor may have you take a different medicine in the weeks before your procedure.
  • If your surgery is canceled for any reason, call your doctor because you may need to restart the medicines you take to thin your blood or prevent clots.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure. Unless told otherwise by your doctor, you can have sips of water to take medicine.

What should I expect the day of procedure?

  • The scheduling office will give you information about when and where to arrive on the day of your procedure.
  • After you arrive, a nurse will check your blood work and start an IV (intravenous) catheter. An IV is a long, thin, flexible tube placed in your vein to give you medicine and fluids.
  • You will be taken to a procedure room and a member of your health care team will talk to you about your procedure and answer any questions you may have. You will then be asked to sign a consent form.
  • You will be given medicine (general anesthesia) and will be asleep during the procedure. Your vital signs will be watched during your procedure.
  • When your procedure is done, you will be taken to the recovery area.

What should I expect after my procedure?

  • In recovery, your nurse will check to make sure your pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen levels are good and that you have no bleeding from the needle site.
  • Based on your procedure, you may be able to leave the hospital after you are awake and stable. You will need someone to drive you home.

When should I call the doctor?

You will be given directions about when and how to report any problems you may have after you leave the hospital. Pain and fever are the most common symptoms after this procedure. Your doctor will give you information about how to manage with these symptoms at home. If you have any other questions or concerns after your procedure, you should call your doctor’s office.


© June 15, 2018. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or health care team if you have any questions about your care.

For more health information, call the Patient and Family Resource Center at 614-366-0602 or visit