Renal Cryotherapy

Renal cryotherapy is a minimally invasive technique to treat tumors of the kidney by freezing a portion of the kidney in order to destroy the cancerous cells. (See also Cryoablation for Kidney Cancer)

Indications

  • Angiomyolipoma (AML)
  • Small tumors of the kidney

Procedure

The patient is given general anesthesia in the operating room. Laparoscopic surgery is then performed to mobilize the kidney. Once the tumor of the kidney has been identified, it is measured with ultrasound and a tissue biopsy is taken. The cryotherapy needles are then inserted into the tumor of the kidney and frozen. The tumor is frozen twice during the procedure to ensure it is treated adequately. Then the instruments are removed, and the case is completed. The recovery period for the patient in the hospital is one to two days. An MRI or CT scan is required several times in the coming months for evaluation of the treated area.

Advantages

  • Shortened recovery
  • Low complications and good success rates
  • Preserves the kidney function (versus radical surgery)
  • If procedure fails, surgery is still an option
  • Minimally invasive therapy for tumors of the kidney

Side Effects

Laparoscopic surgery of the kidney is a major procedure, and the risks that accompany surgery still apply. Renal cryotherapy is one of the best ways to preserve the function of the kidney while treating a tumor, but occasionally, the kidney will lose more function than expected after treatment. Rarely, the patient may require a second treatment.