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What are side effects of IRE (Nanoknife)?

We need more research into the side effects of IRE for pancreatic cancer. Early studies have found some of the following side effects. Most of these are short-term and only last a few days.

  • You may have some pain. This can be managed with painkillers and usually improves in one to three days.
  • Some people get pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. This can usually be managed with pain relief, and you may need to spend a few days in hospital until the pain improves and you are able to eat. If the pancreatitis is more severe, you may need to stay in hospital for a few weeks or months – but this is not common.
  • Some people have problems with eating and drinking after IRE – for example feeling and being sick, and heartburn. These don’t normally last very long.
  • A small number of people may get a blood clot in a vein, but this is rare. This can be treated with anti-coagulation medication. A blood clot may mean that you can’t have surgery following IRE, even if the IRE was successful – your doctor should discuss this with you.
  • Very rarely, a small number of people may have a leak of fluid from their bile duct or their duodenum (first part of the small intestines).This may happen if the needles damage these areas.

There may be a very small risk of dying after having IRE. This is rare. It may be caused by damage during the treatment.

Speak to your doctor about the risks and side effects of IRE.

If you are having chemotherapy, you may also get side effects from the chemotherapy.

If you have any questions about IRE, speak to your doctor. You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line.

What is IRE?

Who can have IRE?

What does IRE treatment involve?

Read more about other treatments for pancreatic cancer

Read about other treatments to manage symptoms

Updated: May 2018

Review Date: May 2020

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