Buford Man Gets Revolutionary Georgian Liver Cancer Treatment

55-year-old Buford resident Jeff Reid became the first patient in Georgia to get a novel sound wave-based liver cancer treatment at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. By concentrating ultrasonic pulses, this novel technique—known as histotripsy—can precisely target and eliminate liver tumor cells without endangering nearby healthy tissue.

Early in 2023, Jeff Reid’s path to this ground-breaking therapy started with concerning symptoms. Reid had several medical scans and biopsies as his weight dropped quickly because of stomach pain and a sharp loss of appetite. A few days before his wedding, on March 31, 2023, he was told he had stage IV colon cancer that had spread to his liver. Reid wed Stephanie Garcia on Jekyll Island in spite of the terrible diagnosis, and shortly after, he started therapy.

Because of the advanced stage of his cancer, Reid was not able to have traditional surgery. Rather, he began a more rigorous chemotherapy course than is customary for his otherwise excellent health. Reid’s surgeon, Dr. Nelson Royall, suggested to him during this difficult period the prospect of histotripsy, which appeared almost too good to be true.

Reid had histotripsy on April 19, while sedated. Reid’s liver tumor cells were successfully broken up by Dr. Royall and his colleagues using very focused ultrasound pulses. Notably non-invasive and requiring no incisions, the treatment enables the surrounding liver components, including blood arteries and bile ducts, to regenerate and operate normally after treatment.

“Wherever the tumor was, the normal liver tissue was preserved because the tumor has vanished and been reabsorbed by the body,” Dr. Royall said. Reid could also carry on with his chemotherapy thanks to this novel approach, which spared him the usual surgical recovery time and side effects linked to more intrusive procedures.

Reid’s advanced cancer cannot be cured by histotripsy, but it can greatly enhance quality of life and even prolong it. “They won’t be able to get all of the tumors in my liver,” Reid said. But the fact that this first treatment worked gives promise for possible follow-up sessions.

More than simply medical progress is represented by this new treatment approach for Reid and his wife. It gives hope since it allows them to spend more time together in spite of the dire prognosis. Garcia stated, thinking back on the importance of every second they have left together, “Although it’s not a cure, at least we get more time together.”

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A promising development in the treatment of liver cancer, this innovative use of histotripsy in Georgia may establish a new benchmark for patient care in comparable situations throughout the state and beyond.

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