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Eur Radiol. 2004 Aug;14(8):1449-55. Epub 2004 May 19.

Radiofrequency ablation of renal tumors.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University Hospital, Aachen University of Technology, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany.


Percutaneous thermal ablation is increasingly applied in the therapy of renal tumors. Various techniques are available, allowing a safe and accurate therapy of renal tumors either using hyperthermia such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), laser-induced thermotherapy (LITT) and microwave ablation (MW) or by hypothermia (cryoablation). As thermal ablation is a minimally invasive and nephron-sparing procedure, it is ideally suited for patients with a single kidney, multiple tumors or contraindications for resective surgery. Although cryotherapy is the most extensively studied technique, RFA has become the most accepted thermal ablation technique over the last years. Modern RFA probes allow ablation volumes between 2 and 5 cm in diameter. A major advantage of RFA is the ability to avoid tract bleeding and tumor seeding by coagulating the puncture channel during RF probe withdrawal. The increasing number of clinical reports on RFA of the kidney show the promising potential of renal RFA for minimally invasive tumor treatment. Due to its technical benefits, RFA seems to be advantageous when compared to cryoablation or laser ablation. However, there are no long-term follow-up or comparative data proving an equal effectiveness to surgery.

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