Dec. 3, 2007 A new study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital confirms the success of a newer minimally invasive technique that uses heat to destroy kidney tumors.
After reviewing the outcomes of 143 solid kidney masses treated with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) over a nine-year period at Rhode Island Hospital, William Mayo-Smith, M.D., director of computed tomography at Rhode Island Hospital, and colleagues report that 137 of 143 tumors (96%) were successfully treated.
A single treatment session was effective for 123 tumors, two sessions were required for 12 tumors and three sessions were required for two tumors. Most patients in the study were in their mid-seventies, which is not uncommon, according to Mayo-Smith, since kidney tumors tend to strike the elderly. Twenty patients in the study had only one kidney due to prior surgery.
“This new minimally invasive technique appears to be an acceptable alternative to surgery in high risk patients,” said Mayo-Smith, who’s also a professor of diagnostic imaging at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. “The technique is exciting because patients are able to go home the same day of the procedure and do not require general anesthesia.”
During RFA, a very thin needle electrode is inserted into the tumor under the guidance of computed tomography (CT). The electrode is equipped to deliver high frequency radio waves that create intense heat, killing cancerous cells. The heat also closes up small blood vessels, minimizing the risk of bleeding.
More than 700 patients have undergone radiofrequency ablation at Rhode Island Hospital. To date, this is the largest known study reporting the results of RFA in treating kidney tumors.
Co-authors were Todd Schirmang, M.D., Damian Dupuy, M.D, and John Cronan, M.D., all of Rhode Island Hospital and Alpert Medical School.
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