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J Urol. 2008 Aug;180(2):492-8; discussion 498. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2008.04.019. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

Percutaneous and laparoscopic cryoablation of small renal masses.

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



We reviewed our 4-year experience with percutaneous cryoablation and laparoscopy for treating small renal masses.


After institutional review board approval we retrospectively analyzed renal cryoablation procedures performed between March 2003 and October 2007. An in-depth analysis was performed concerning demographics, hospital course and short-term outcome with respect to percutaneous vs laparoscopic cryoablation.


A total of 37 patients underwent treatment for 43 renal masses. Of the 37 patients 19 underwent laparoscopic cryoablation (24 tumors) and 18 underwent percutaneous cryoablation (19 tumors) using computerized tomography fluoroscopy. For percutaneous cryoablation a saline instillation was used in 58% of cases to move nonrenal vital structures away from the targeted renal mass. There were 5 cases of hemorrhage requiring transfusion, all of which were associated with the use of multiple cryoprobes. The transfusion rate in the percutaneous and laparoscopic cryoablation groups was 11.1% and 27.8%, respectively. Operative time was significantly longer in the laparoscopic cryoablation group compared to the percutaneous cryoablation group at 147 (range 89 to 209) vs 250.2 (range 151 to 360) minutes, respectively. The overall complication rate (including transfusion) was lower in the percutaneous cryoablation group compared to the laparoscopic cryoablation group (4 of 18 [22.2%] vs 8 of 20 [40%], respectively). Hospital stay was significantly shorter in the percutaneous vs laparoscopic cryoablation group at 1.3 vs 3.1 days, p <0.0001, respectively. Narcotic use in the percutaneous cryoablation group was more than half that used by the laparoscopic cryoablation group (5.1 vs 17.8 mg, p = 0.03, respectively). Among patients with biopsy proven renal cell carcinoma during a median followup of 11.4 and 13.4 months in the percutaneous and laparoscopic cryoablation groups, cancer specific survival was 100% and 100%, respectively, and the treatment failure rate was 5.3% and 4.2%, respectively.


Percutaneous cryoablation is an efficient, minimally morbid method for the treatment of small renal masses and it appears to be superior to the laparoscopic approach. Short-term followup has shown no difference in tumor recurrence or need for re-treatment. Of note, hemorrhage was solely associated with the use of multiple probes.

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