Percutaneous ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation for kidney tumors in patients with surgical risk


Maciej Salagierski, md, ul. Żeromskiego 113, 90-549 Łódź, Poland. Email:


Objective: The aim of this study was to describe our experience with percutaneous ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation of kidney tumors.

Methods: From July 2002 to August 2005, 45 radiofrequency ablations (RFA) in 42 selected patients with kidney tumor were performed. The patients had either contraindications to surgery procedures or had a solitary kidney. The average tumor size was 37.5 mm (range, 18–59 mm) with the mean age of 68 years (range, 28–83 years). RFA were performed based on radiographic findings. Needle biopsy was made only twice. Monopolar Cool-tip Tyco or bipolar Celon Olympus radiofrequency devices were used. The procedure was performed under conscious sedation with local anesthesia. Treatment efficacy was assessed by computed tomography and by Doppler ultrasound. The absence of contrast enhancement on computed tomography was considered to be a successful treatment.

Results: The average follow up was 14 months (range, 3–36 months). In 42 tumors (93%), total absence of contrast enhancement was obtained after the initial RFA and in three tumors (7%) after the second ablation session. There were no complications following 41 procedures, including all ablations in small (<35 mm) renal masses. In four procedures, minor complications were observed. All patients are alive. There has been no need for chronic hemodialysis and, until now, we have not observed any local recurrences with the exception of one metastasis to an ipsilateral adrenal gland.

Conclusions: RFA of kidney tumors is a promising alternative treatment which could be considered for patients who are not suitable for surgery.