Treating kidney cancer with percutaneous radiofrequency ablation

Your kidneys help filter waste from your body to help you stay healthy. If you have kidney cancer, also called renal cancer, your kidneys have a more difficult time doing their job.

You actually only need one working kidney to live a normal, healthy life. However, if you have kidney cancer, whether it’s in one or both kidneys, you need treatment. Main Line Health offers percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of renal masses as a minimally invasive treatment for kidney cancer.

A minimally invasive option instead of traditional surgery

In some cases of kidney cancer, you will need to have your kidney removed. However, that may not be necessary or possible. Your doctor may recommend percutaneous radiofrequency ablation to treat your kidney cancer if you:

  • Are older and recovery from surgery might be difficult
  • Find another tumor after surgical resection of your kidney
  • Have a family history of multiple kidney tumors
  • Have other medical conditions that prevent you from having surgery
  • Have smaller tumors (less than four centimeters)
  • Have tumors in both kidneys
  • Only have one kidney

During percutaneous radiofrequency ablation, a needle electrode is placed through your skin and into the kidney tumor. Imaging techniques, such as ultrasound, CT scan or MRI, are used to help guide the needle electrode into place. Next, high frequency electrical currents are passed through the electrode, creating heat. This heat destroys the cancer cells and replaces them with scar tissue that shrinks over time.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.