Objective: We report nine consecutive percutaneous image-guided cryoablation procedures of head and neck tumors in seven patients (four men and three women; mean age, 68 years; age range, 50-78 years). Ablation of the entire tumor for local control or ablation of a region of tumor for pain relief or preservation of function was achieved in eight of nine procedures. One patient experienced intraprocedural bradycardia, and another developed a neopharyngeal abscess. There were no deaths, permanent neurologic or functional deficits, vascular complications, or adverse cosmetic sequelae due to the procedures.
Conclusion: Percutaneous image-guided cryoablation offers a potentially less morbid minimally invasive treatment option than salvage head and neck surgery. The complications that we encountered may be avoidable with increased experience. Further work is needed to continue improving the safety and efficacy of cryoablation of head and neck tumors and to continue expanding the use of cryoablation in patients with head and neck tumors that cannot be treated surgically.
Keywords: cryoablation; cryosurgery; head and neck neoplasms; interventional oncology.