Jefferson University Hospitals

Percutaneous Cryoablation

Urologists and interventional radiologists at Jefferson are utilizing a new minimally invasive technique to freeze some tumors of the kidney, called percutaneous cryoablation, avoiding the need for surgery. Ablation was initially developed for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer. Over time, treatment of small tumors has led to a three-year survival of 67 percent. Given the success with this tumor, ablation has been used in other organ systems with impressive efficacy.

This treatment is suitable for certain kidney cancers called renal cell carcinomas. A recent report has demonstrated 100 percent disease-free and metastasis-free survival using ablation to treat renal masses less than 4 centimeters in diameter with a median follow-up of five years.

What Does Percutaneous Cryoablation Involve?

Utilizing imaging technology such as CT, MRI or ultrasound, physicians insert "ablation" needles through your skin into the tumor. Once the needles are in place, a device called a cryoablation machine delivers sub-freezing temperatures until the tumor and surrounding borders are frozen. This technique destroys the tumor.

The procedure typically takes less than an hour and does not require general anesthesia.