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Urology. 2003 Jan;61(1):83-8.

Retroperitoneal laparoscopic cryoablation of small renal tumors: intermediate results.

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Department of Urology, University of California, Irvine Medical Center, Orange, California, USA.



To present our experience with laparoscopic renal cryoablation with up to 3 years of follow-up. Laparoscopic renal cryoablation remains a viable option for the treatment of small peripheral renal masses in patients with significant comorbidities. Although partial nephrectomy has been shown to be a safe and reliable method of renal parenchymal preservation, laparoscopic cryoablation still requires longer term data to prove its efficacy.


Twenty patients with small renal masses (1.4 to 4.5 cm) underwent laparoscopic renal cryosurgery at our institution. A retroperitoneal laparoscopic approach was used to expose the kidney. Intraoperative ultrasound guidance was used to localize the lesions and monitor iceball formation. A double-freeze technique was used. Needle biopsies of solid masses were performed intraoperatively.


Renal biopsies revealed renal cell carcinoma in 11 of the 20 patients. Of these 11 patients, none had evidence of recurrent disease at last follow-up, and follow-up scans showed no enhancement of any lesions. Of the 8 patients with follow-up of 2 years or greater, 4 had complete resolution of the renal lesions. The remainder had lesions that were reduced and stable in size. Complications included surgical re-exploration to evaluate pancreatic injury in 1 patient and failure to ablate a lesion in another.


Laparoscopic renal cryoablation appears to be an effective tool for ablation of small renal lesions. A moderate length of follow-up continues to demonstrate efficacy because no patients had growth of treated pathologic lesions or developed metastasis to date. Continued maturation of data is necessary to determine the long-term efficacy.

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