Patient Care

URMC First in Nation to Use Sound Wave Therapy for Liver Tumors

Dec. 22, 2023

Doctors at the University of Rochester Medical Center are first in the nation to use a cutting-edge therapy for patients with cancerous tumors in their liver. Using high-intensity sound waves, doctors are able to remove cancerous liver tissue without any incisions.

The non-invasive procedure, called histotripsy, uses technology developed by HistoSonics. It can be a standalone procedure or serve as a bridge to liver tumor resection or transplantation, especially for those with colorectal metastasis or primary liver tumors.

The first person in the nation was treated Dec. 18 by the URMC liver care team, working with the Wilmot Cancer Institute. URMC’s second and third patients were treated Dec. 20.

What is histotripsy?

Histotripsy uses high-intensity sound waves to eliminate cancerous liver tissue.

  • Non-invasive: While performed under general anesthesia, it doesn't involve incisions or needles
  • Undetectable: With no scars or incision wounds, the risk of infection or complications is extremely low
  • Quick recovery: Patients can often resume normal activities shortly after the procedure.
  • Same-day surgery: Many patients can go home on the same day with little to no pain

Who could benefit?

  • Individuals with primary liver tumors
  • Those with secondary liver tumors (e.g., metastasis from colon, neuroendocrine, or pancreatic tumors) that haven't spread to other organs or lymph nodes
  • Patients with additional health conditions (such as heart disease or  diabetes) who cannot undergo open surgery

It is important to note that the location and size of tumors may influence the feasibility of this treatment. Get more information here.