FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Patients with hard-to-reach tumors now have new treatment options in Fort Smith thanks to new technology added at Sparks Regional Medical Center.
After battling Hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver, Phyllis Maxwell learned a tumor on her liver was too close to other vital organs to operate, but thanks to new technology, she had the option to receive a new form of treatment being used at Sparks.
Interventional Neuroradiologist Clint Wood, MD. said Maxwell was an ideal candidate for irreversible electroporation (IRE), also known as the NanoKnife procedure. Unlike other cancer treatment options, this device will only kill the cells that make up the tumor.
"The reason you can use this in places you can't use a burning technique is because most tumors are growing across the bile ducts or a large artery, and we can't afford to hurt that other structure," Dr. Wood said.
During the procedure, two or more NanoKnife IRE disposable electrodes are positioned in or around the soft-tissue tumor creating an electrical field between them.
"When the machine is turned on, there's electrical current going between every probe that encompasses the entire tumor,” Dr. Wood said. “When done, every living cell in that zone will die over the next few weeks."
Benefits of the device include fewer side effects, minimal postoperative pain, needle-like incisions, a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery, a release states.
One month later, Maxwell learned the procedure worked. She is now in remission.
“I'm doing spring cleaning,” Maxwell laughed. “I really feel well."
Sparks is the only hospital in the area and one of just 60 in the country to have the technology. Maxwell said she knows that made a difference in her life.
"If you're like me and you're sick, you don’t want to go 200 miles one direction or the other,” Maxwell said. “You want to be with your family, your church family, and it's so much easier."