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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2005 May;16(5):679-88.

Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of renal tumors: technique, complications, and outcomes.

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The Department of Diagnostic Radiology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 77030-4009, USA.



To report the safety, technical success, and effectiveness of percutaneous radiofrequency (RF) ablation for renal tumors.


The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records and imaging studies of 29 consecutive patients (18 men, 11 women; mean age, 65 +/- 2.62 years) with 30 renal tumors (mean diameter, 3.5 +/- 0.24 cm) who underwent percutaneous RF ablation at their institution from September 2001 to March 2004. All procedures were performed with computed tomography guidance with general anesthesia, and all patients were admitted to the hospital for overnight observation. Technical success, complications, and their management were recorded. Technique effectiveness was assessed by imaging and clinical follow up.


Overall, 88 overlapping ablations were performed (mean, 2.6 +/- 0.16 ablations per tumor per session) in 34 sessions. There were four major complications (12%). Three patients had gross hematuria and urinary obstruction, all were successfully treated. One patient had persistent anterior abdominal wall weakness. There were also two minor complications (6%) without significant clinical sequelae. One patient had gross hematuria which resolved spontaneously, another patient had transient paresthesia of the anterior abdominal wall. There were no significant changes in renal function after RF ablation. The intent of RF ablation was eradication of the primary tumor in 27 patients and treatment of gross hematuria in the other two. Technical success was achieved in all cases. Follow-up images were available for 26 patients. The primary tumor was completely ablated in 23 of 24 patients (96%) in whom eradication of the primary tumor was attempted (follow up period: mean, 10 months, median 7 months). The two patients treated for hematuria remained asymptomatic for 6 and 27 months each.


Percutaneous RF ablation for renal tumors is safe and well tolerated. High technical success rates are expected. Early reports of the technique's effectiveness are promising.

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