Purpose: To our knowledge we present the initial series of renal mass in situ laparoscopic radio frequency ablation. We also discuss the indications for and results of subsequent laparoscopic partial nephrectomy. Materials and Methods: Laparoscopic radio frequency ablation was performed in 13 patients with a mean age of 59 years (range 18 to 81) and a total of 17 small enhancing renal masses. In 5 patients the tumor was subsequently excised completely, whereas in 7 it was left in situ after treatment. In 1 patient with 5 lesions only the largest lesion was excised, while the other 4 were left in situ. Results: Mean tumor size was 1.96 cm. (range 0.9 to 3.6). Tumors that remained in situ tended to be endophytic and located in the mid pole. Pathological analysis revealed renal cell carcinoma in 10 patients, angiomyolipoma in 2 and oncocytoma in the patient with multiple lesions. None of the 8 patients with renal cell carcinoma who had at least 6 weeks of followup (mean 9.8 months, range 1.5 to 22) had any evidence of persistent tumor enhancement on surveillance computerized tomography or any other evidence of disease progression. There was 1 focal positive margin in a patient who underwent radio frequency ablation and excision of renal cell carcinoma but the patient remained disease-free 1 year after treatment. Conclusions: Early experience with laparoscopic radio frequency ablation in situ or combined with partial nephrectomy shows that it appears to be a safe method of managing small enhancing renal masses. Radio frequency assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy is reserved for easily accessible exophytic tumors, while strict surveillance is required for lesions remaining in situ after ablation. Additional followup is required to assess long-term effectiveness.
- Carcinoma, renal cell
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