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NanoKnife™ is a minimally invasive cancer treatment that precisely targets and kills hard-to-reach tumors. NanoKnife allows treatment of difficult-to-reach tumors that in the past would be virtually impossible for surgeons to remove.

NanoKnife, available only at Inova Alexandria Hospital, is a minimally invasive cancer treatment that uses irreversible electroporation technology to precisely target and kill hard-to-reach tumors at the cellular level. The precision of the NanoKnife™ allows our interventional radiologists to treat tumors that in the past would be virtually impossible for surgeons to operate on due to their location.

NanoKnife technology is especially effective on small tumors, typically less than five centimeters, which are considered inoperable or poor candidates for traditional treatments. NanoKnife can be used for both primary tumors or for tumors that have metastasized or spread to other parts or organs of the body.

Tumors in the liver, lungs, kidneys and pancreas can be treated with NanoKnife.


Watch Dr. Sandeep Bagla discuss benefits of NanoKnife on WUSA9

Our team was the first in the Washington, DC, metro area to use Nanoknife™ – a minimally invasive cancer treatment which implements technology known as irreversible electroporation to precisely target and kill hard-to-reach tumors at the cellular level.


How does it work?

NanoKnife technology applies a series of quick bursts of electrical energy through electrodes that are inserted directly into and around the tumor and destroy it – leaving the surrounding tissue, veins, nerves and ducts unaffected. Healthy cells and tissue can then grow back and regenerate within the area. NanoKnife is different from other treatments like cyberknife and traditional surgery in that it can be done quickly and painlessly, and success can be evaluated much more quickly.


What are the benefits of NanoKnife?

  • Cutting-edge technology that treats tumors considered inoperable, or where radiation therapy is not an option
  • Virtually painless treatment with patients receiving general anesthesia and generally experiencing few or no side effects
  • Fast treatment that usually requires only an overnight hospital stay
  • No stitches or staples, just a small bandage

Treatment procedure

Patients arrive one hour prior to the procedure to the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology Department (CVIR) where they are greeted by the oncology intervention team including the nurse, technologist and anesthesiologist. After meeting again with the interventional radiologist who will answer any questions, the nurse will place an IV line for medication and fluids.

The patient will receive anesthesia, or an intravenous medication to put them asleep, and will be moved to the procedure room. The procedure generally lasts between one hour to one and a half hours, and following this and the patient will awaken in the anesthesia recovery unit. After a short stay here, the patient will be taken to their room until they are discharged, usually the next morning.

There are no stitches or sutures to remove, only a small bandage covering the procedure spot. That dressing can be removed the following day. The patient will not have any significant medical restrictions after discharge, and may resume activities as tolerated.


How do I learn more and find out if I am a candidate for NanoKnife™?

Call our coordinator at 703-504-7950 to arrange an appointment with one our interventional radiologists, who will discuss your specific case with you.

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