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Tissue Ablative Techniques for Renal Tumors


  • Tissue ablation destroys (kills) a tumor or lump in an organ without having to remove the tumor. Ablation is usually used when the lumps are small and few, and surgery cannot be done. Tissue ablation is usually called minimally invasive. This means that smaller incisions (cuts) than with an open procedure can be made. There may also be fewer risks than when an open procedure is done. Freezing, heating, or using high frequency waves may be done to kill the tumor. Other treatments for small kidney tumors include removing only the tumor and a small amount of tissue instead of the whole kidney. Medicine to help your immune system stop tumor cells from spreading may also be used. The earlier a kidney tumor is found and treated, the better the chances that the tumor can be destroyed using tissue ablation.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Eat healthy foods:

Choose healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables. Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose protein sources, such as lean beef and chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Ask how many servings of fats, oils, and sweets you should have each day, and if you need to be on a special diet.


Exercise makes the heart stronger, lowers blood pressure, and helps keep you healthy. Begin to exercise slowly and do more as you get stronger. Talk with your healthcare provider before you start an exercise program.

Methods used to treat kidney tumors:

  • Cryoablation: This method destroys a tumor by freezing it with a very cold metal probe. The probe is guided into the lump using an ultrasound, CT scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This is usually used in older patients with other medical conditions.
  • Enucleation: This is surgery to remove only the lump in the kidney. A small amount of healthy tissue around the lump may also be removed.
  • High intensity focused ultrasound: This method uses ultrasound energy to kill tumor cells. The ultrasound waves are applied outside the body and focus directly towards the tumor. These waves produce a high amount of energy and kill tumor cells.
  • Immunomodulatory therapies: This treatment uses medicine to improve your immune system. The immune system helps stop tumor cells from growing and spreading.
  • Microwave thermal ablation: This method uses microwave energy to treat the tumor. A probe is guided into the tumor by an ultrasound or CT scan. The probe releases high amounts of energy to heat and kill tumor cells.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: This method uses high-energy radio waves to treat the tumor. A thin, needle-like probe is placed into the tumor to release the radio waves. The probe is guided by an ultrasound or CT scan. It releases a high frequency current that creates heat and kills tumor cells.

What are the risks of tissue ablation?

You may need your skin to be incised (cut), and this may lead to infection or bleeding. Nerves, blood vessels, and other organs or tissues may get damaged. Cryoablation may cause blocked bowels, bladder problems, or pancreas injury. Microwave thermal ablation may cause urine leakage or fistulas. A fistula is an unwanted tunnel that forms under the skin. There is a risk that you will also need open surgery during or after minimally invasive tissue ablation. Even after this procedure, all tumor cells may not be gone and any that are left may spread. Your kidney may also not work as well as before.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have more questions or concern about your condition, medicine, or care.


  • You have chest pain or have trouble breathing all of a sudden.
  • You have pain or bleeding on your incision site.

Learn more about Tissue Ablative Techniques for Renal Tumors (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.