A minimally invasive procedure called cryoablation uses extremely cold temperatures to destroy (ablate) tumours while preserving surrounding tissue and organs. Depending on the position and size of your kidney tumour you may be a candidate for cryoablation.

What happens during cryoablation?

Cryoablation is usually performed under general anaesthetic. In some cases a local anaesthetic and sedation are used. Your consultant will recommend an anaesthetic based on your own medication situation. The length of your cryoablation will depend on the size and exact location of your tumour.
The procedure in done in the guidance of a CT scan. Once your consultant confirms the location and size of your tumour using scanned images, local anaesthetic will be injected in your skin. Tiny probes (fine, hollow needles) will be inserted into your skin and into the tumour. Several probes may be used depending on the size of the tumour. Argon gas is passed through the probes and into the tumour freezing and destroying the tissue. The probes will be removed and plasters placed on any wounds.

You may need to stay one night in hospital.

Going home after cryoablation

You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home on your day of discharge.
You should rest and take over the counter pain relief for the first few days. Report any discharge or bleeding from your wounds to your GP.

You will need to return for a follow up visit to have your wounds checked and a follow up CT scan.
Most people return to normal activities about one week after cryoablation. Be sure and discuss any return to work with your consultant.

Although cryoablation is a minimally invasive procedure there could be complications including:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Allergic reaction to anaesthetic

Specific complications of cryoablation:

  • Damage to surrounding organs or tissue
  • Allergic reaction to dye used during CT scan
  • Tumour reoccurs

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