Needle ablative therapies for small incidental renal masses are emerging as alternatives to traditional extirpative surgery. Reasons include their associated decreased morbidity, shorter convalescence, and the ability to avert the higher risk of extirpative surgery in an aging patient population. Cryoablation (CA) and radiofrequency ablation are the two most thoroughly studied needle ablative methods used for renal cancer. High-intensity focused ultrasound has also been studied but with limited published human experience at this time. For both radiofrequency ablation and CA, in vitro experiments, animal studies, and (increasingly) human experience have been published, allowing us to define appropriate candidates for such therapies, their oncologic outcomes, and the potential pitfalls. While long-term data is being collected, the current literature suggests that CA and radiofrequency ablation can be safely performed and can effectively eradicate small renal cancers with cancer-specific survival rates similar to those of traditional surgical options.
ASJC Scopus subject areas