Interventional Radiology for Kidney Cancer

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Interventional radiology uses imaging to see inside the body, along with minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat cancer. Interventional radiology also may be used to relieve symptoms. Doctors use tools such as catheters (thin tubes) and needles to destroy tumors.

Tumor ablation is an effective alternative to surgery for removing small kidney tumors (up to 4 centimeters). Guided by CT imaging, we insert a thin needle probe through the skin and into the tumor. The needle uses extreme temperatures to destroy cancer cells. It uses either high temperatures to heat the tumor (microwave ablation) or low temperatures to freeze it (cryoablation). Your body removes the dead cells, leaving scar tissue in its place.

Image-guided ablation treats tumors that have spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. It is a good alternative to surgery for many patients. When we use it along with systemic therapy (medications), it improves survival and the chance of complete remission. We also may use ablation to help relieve pain if kidney cancer has spread to the bone or soft tissue.