Radiofrequency ablation for treatment of renal tumors: technological principles and outcomes

Expert Rev Med Devices. 2011 Nov;8(6):695-707. doi: 10.1586/erd.11.51.


Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive, energy-based, needle-ablative treatment modality that is currently being used to treat small renal masses (SRMs) and offers advantages over extirpative techniques. RFA treats SRM with heat induced by the tissue impedance to radiofrequency current emitted from a needle probe within the SRM. Currently available RFA systems use either an impedance- or temperature-based treatment algorithm to reach treatment end point while minimizing risk of carbonization. Physical limitations, such as electrical property heterogeneity and convective heat loss due to blood flow, and technical considerations should be addressed when performing RFA. Nonetheless, investigations with intermediate follow-up have demonstrated single-treatment radiographic recurrence-free rates of >90%. Future trends include the use of noninvasive imaging thermometry, electromagnetic targeting and adjuvant techniques.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome