Cryoablation to Treat Kidney Cancer

There's new hope for some people with kidney cancer. If you're ever diagnosed with kidney cancer, odds are your treatment will include surgery.

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to go under the knife. Now, some are qualifying for an alternative treatment.

In a procedure room, a team of experts is destroying a cancerous kidney tumor. Instead of using scalpels to remove the tumor, these doctors are armed with CT scans, needles and ice. It's called cryoablation.

Urologist Bradley Liebovich says, "Cryoablation is a procedure where a patient with a mass in the kidney is treated by sticking a needle through their side under ultrasound, CTT or MRI guidance, and the tip of the needle is made very cold."

The freezing forms an ice ball, which is then quickly thawed and frozen again. Dr. Liebovich says, "The act of freezing and thawing destroys the tissues. You can see it here. The darker area is the ice. The grey area is the tumor."

Within an hour or so, the entire grey area will be dark. The tumor will have been destroyed with very little risk to the patient. Dr. Liebovich says, "Risks from cryosurgery are very minimal, which is why we tend to utilize it for patients who cannot undergo the stress of a surgical procedure."

Cryosurgery may not be for everyone but for those who are candidates, it could be their last best hope. The best thing about the procedure is patients go home with only a band-aid as a reminder.