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Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a surgical procedure in which heat generated from medium frequency alternating current is used to ablate a tumour, a part of the electrical conduction system of the heart, or any other dysfunctional areas. The ablation therapy requires local anaesthesia and is done in an outpatient setting.

RFA is a popular treatment for the correction of any abnormality in the electrical system of the heart, which is confirmed during electrophysiology studies (EPS). During this test, the electrophysiology of heart is studied and any abnormalities are noted. The procedure used to correct the identified abnormalities associated with electrophysiology of heart is known as the cardiac ablation procedure.

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Before the Treatment

Before cardiac ablation procedure and the EPS study, you need to follow every instruction given by the doctor. You will be instructed to fast before the procedure. You should not eat or drink after midnight the night before of the procedure.

Additionally to prepare for cardiac ablation surgery, you will be advised to stop taking any blood thinners or adjust the dosage or timing of the diabetes medication. You must inform your doctor if you have cold, flu, or any other illness on the day of the surgery. Also tell the doctor about all medications or supplements that you are currently taking or if you have allergy to any specific group of medicines.

How it is Performed

The steps in the RFA procedure depends of the type of disorder that needs to be treated or the part of the body targeted.

Radiofrequency Ablation For Cardiac Treatment

Abnormal electrophysiology of heart that cause cardiac arrhythmias can be destroyed by radiofrequency energy. During cardiac ablation procedure, radiofrequency energy is used in atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardia, multifocal atrial tachycardia and ventricular arrhythmia. The electrode at the tip of a catheter is placed into the heart through a vein. This type of catheter is called ablator. The physician first maps the specific area that is abnormal before starting the cardiac ablation surgery.

Radiofrequency Ablation for Tumours

RFA is used to treat tumours of kidneys, liver, lung and bone. After tumour diagnosis is confirmed, a needle-like RFA probe is placed inside the tumour. Through this probe, the radiofrequency wave passes and increases the temperature of the tumour tissue. The increase in temperature destroys the tumour during ablation procedure.

Radiofrequency Ablation For Aesthetics Dermatology

Radiofrequency ablation therapy can also be used in dermatological conditions by using different forms of alternating current. The radiofrequency ablation can also be used to treat skin lesions with few side effects and complications.

Radiofrequency Ablation For Varicose veins

Radiofrequency ablation is used in the treatment of varicose veins. Under ultrasound control, a radiofrequency catheter is inserted into the abnormal vein and the vessel treated with radio-energy and closes the involved vein. Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat the saphenous vein, the saphenous vein, and the perforator veins.


Immediately after cardiac ablation procedure, the patient is shifted to a recovery room for a few hours. There may be some level of numbness or weakness for a while, which goes away in a few hours. You will be asked to lie quietly for at least three to four hours.

During the first 48 hours, you may feel sore because of excessive lying down or experience a heart-beat which is strange. Bruises may appear at the site of catheter insertion, however, it goes away within two days. You will be instructed to avoid vigorous activities and weight lifting and advised to remove any bandages at bed time. You must avoid the catheter insertion site from getting wet.

You will be given an appointment after RFA to have a repeat scan. The scan helps to know how well the treatment is done. You must avoid bending of squatting and watch out for swelling or bleeding at the site of catheter insertion. It is important to take short walks every day. You can return back to work after 48 hours or whenever your doctor gives a go ahead.

Advantages of radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

  • Radiofrequency catheter ablation does not require general anaesthetic as it does not stimulate the nerve and heart muscle directly.
  • Radiofrequency catheter ablation treats specifically the desired tissue without much collateral damage.

Cost Comparison

Cost of EPS and RFA in India

The cost of ablation surgery in India depends on the extent of ablation and the exact location of the cells targeted during the surgery. The cost of EPS and RFA is highly affordable in India and dramatically cheaper than what it costs in the other countries.

EPS and RFA cost in India is just one-tenth the cost of the same procedure in the Western countries, including the US and the UK. Cardiac ablation cost in India is cheaper despite the fact that it is performed by some of the most experienced and globally renowned cardiac surgeons in the country. The following table highlights the cost of EPS and RFA in India and some of the other popular medical tourism destinations:

Treatment cost in India: 2500
Treatment cost in Turkey: 9500
Treatment cost in United Arab Emirates: 19000
Treatment cost in Thailand: 7800
Treatment cost in Spain: 16000
Treatment cost in Israel: 18000
Treatment cost in Singapore: 12000
Treatment cost in Greece: 11250
Treatment cost in South Africa: n/a
Treatment cost in Tunisia: n/a
Treatment cost in Lebanon: n/a
Treatment cost in Lithuania: n/a
Treatment cost in Poland: 5100
Treatment cost in Saudi Arabia: n/a
Treatment cost in South Korea: 20000
Treatment cost in Switzerland: 19000
Treatment cost in Czechia: 12000
Treatment cost in Hungary: n/a
Treatment cost in Malaysia: 8000
Treatment cost in Morocco: n/a

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Q. How much pain is experienced during and after RFA procedure?

A. The patient is sedated during the procedure. Patients usually do not report pain or discomfort. Some patients may experience chest discomfort, sore throat, and difficulty in swallowing.

Q. How long does the RFA procedure take?

A. RFA procedure may take anywhere between 25 and 50 minutes. However, cardiac ablation surgery may last a little over 1.5to 2 hours.

Q. How long will it take for the patient to recover after the RFA procedure?

A. RFA is an outpatient procedure. Many people can work in 2 to 4 days and can perform the daily activities.

Q. What complications can occur after RFA procedure?

A. Some complications after RFA procedure are bleeding and infection.

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