We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What Is Renal Cryoablation?

Dan Harkins
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

When tumors are discovered in the kidneys via radiology, doctors need to perform a biopsy to determine malignancy and an excision to remove the potentially life-threatening growths. Until recent decades, the tumor was likely to be cut out of the body in an invasive process known as extirpation. In 2011, however, doctors are likely to use renal cryoablation for small tumors under 1.5 inches (about 4 cm) in diameter. This is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a laparoscopic camera and perhaps even ultrasound guidance to isolate the tumors and destroy them with a frozen probe.

Though the procedure may vary according to a doctor or hospital's protocol, a basic renal cryoablation typically involves just a day of in-patient recovery. First, a grid is laid over the patient's tumorous kidney and CT imaging is undergone. With this grid, the skin can be marked with the exact location of the kidney to be treated. Then, after a biopsy needle samples the potentially cancerous tissue, a laparoscopic camera and a handful of frozen probes are inserted into the kidney to perform a series of cryoablation freezes of the tumors.

The primary reason a patient must undergo renal cryoablation, also known as renal cryotherapy, is due to renal cell carcinoma, the most common cancer of the kidneys. Affecting mostly men in later life, a doctor may suspect kidney cancer if a patient is complaining of pain in the torso, bloody urine, weight loss and testicular discomfort. Radiology typically can identify the presence of abnormal growths, but it cannot determine malignancy. This must be performed during a biopsy, during which time the growth is often removed for testing.

A common alternative to renal cryoablation is performed in a similar fashion, only with heat from a high radio frequency to kill the cancerous growth instead of frozen probes. This procedure is referred to as radio frequency (RF) ablation. These techniques can be used not only for renal tumors, but also for those discovered in the lungs, liver, colon and prostate.

During renal cryoablation and RF ablation, patients are usually under general anesthesia. The procedure can last as long as three hours, with the surgeon often using a tool called an ultrasound probe to find the exact location of each kidney growth. During the ablation, the probe then helps the doctor determine if all of each tumor has been successfully destroyed. Patients have less than a 5 percent chance of recurrent growth with cryoablation, according to the Kidney Cancer Institute, with just one in 10 patients experiencing any complications.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Dan Harkins
By Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his journalism degree, he spent more than two decades honing his craft as a writer and editor for various publications. Dan’s debut novel showcases his storytelling skills and unique perspective by drawing readers into the story’s captivating narrative.
Discussion Comments
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins, a former military professional, brings his diverse life experiences to his writing. After earning his...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.