Ablation therapy is a minimally invasive treatment used to destroy (ablate) abnormal tissue as well as tumors found in the thyroid, liver, breasts, lungs and other organs. During the procedure, a surgeon may use either freezing cold or exceptionally hot liquids to remove layers of tissue.  

Conditions Treated 

An ablation procedure can treat many kinds of medical conditions, such as: 

  • Heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) 
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding 
  • Cancer 
  • Neck and back pain 
  • Skin lesions 

Procedure Details 

There are a variety of ablation methods that can be used, depending on the patient’s medical condition. At Tampa General Hospital, our skilled cardiologists, electrophysiologists and other specialists complete a wide range of ablation therapies for our patients: 

  • Catheter ablation – For patients with heart arrhythmias, catheter ablation may be used to destroy tissue in the heart to block abnormal electrical signals that are causing irregular heartbeats. 
  • Cryoablation – This ablation procedure uses extremely cold liquid to destroy cancerous tumors.  
  • High-energy radiofrequency ablation – Often used to treat neck, back and joint pain, this procedure delivers heat generated by radio waves to nerves to temporarily halt pain signals.  
  • Laser ablation – Laser ablation uses laser heat to destroy tumors. It is typically used for brain tumors and skin lesions. 
  • Microwave ablation – This therapy destroys tumors using microwaves (electromagnetic waves that generate heat). 
  • Thermal balloon ablation – Used for patients experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, thermal balloon ablation thins the lining of the uterus. A thermal balloon is inserted into the uterus and is filled with fluid that is heated to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. 

What to Expect 

Ablation therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that offers many benefits when compared to open surgery, including less time recovering in a hospital. Some patients are eligible to go home the same day as the procedure and most will experience minimal postoperative pain for a swifter recovery.  

There are marginal risks to an ablation procedure, as complications can occur depending on a patient’s overall condition and the type of ablation they received.  

Rare risks include: 

  • Bleeding at the puncture site 
  • Damage to blood vessels 
  • Infection 
  • Scarring 


The specialists at TGH always take the time to discuss the long-term outlook of an ablation procedure, as it can vary widely from patient to patient. Some patients may experience a total reduction in symptoms while others may need to have another ablation or a different procedure performed. Certain patients require medication long-term. It will all depend on your specific medical condition, the effectiveness of the ablation and your overall needs.