RFA is an outpatient procedure in which the patient is sedated but conscious and a local anesthetic is used at the puncture site. In the study being reported, 101 of the 104 patients went home the same day, and three were hospitalized after the procedure one for a planned treatment, another for treatment of bruising around the puncture, and a third for treatment of exacerbation of a heart condition.
A total of eight patients experienced complications, including temporary air pockets in the chest cavity, mild to severe pain after the procedure, pneumonia, and problems with their ureters. Generally, the report says, this study shows that the procedure ... has a very low rate of complications. Standard treatment for RCC has been a removal of the affected kidney, along with adjoining blood vessels and lymph nodes, known as a radical nephrectomy, although newer minimally invasive techniques, such as laparoscopic surgery, have also been used successfully.
Zagoria cautioned that RFA is not recommended if patients are good surgical candidates who are healthy, younger, and have two normal kidneys, because long-term follow-up is lacking and therefore the durability of cure is not confirmed. (The average age of patients in the study was about 70, with a range of 30-89.) However, he said, I think this is a big advance in treating renal tumors.
The best candidates for RFA, he said, are patients wi
Contact: Mark Wright
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center