Cryosurgery, also known as Cryotherapy or Cryoablation, is a minimally invasive procedure used to correct conditions associated with kidney cancer.  A board certified urologist will determine what treatment option may be appropriate. While removal of the kidney is the traditional treatment, Cryosurgery is quickly gaining favor because of the minimally invasive nature of the procedure. Because the kidney is not being cut, there is less of a risk for serious bleeding.

Kidney cancer cryosurgery consists of a special type of needles called Cryoablation needles. The needles are placed into damaged areas of the kidney through small incisions. A cooled gas called Argon gas is used to freeze and effectively destroy areas of the kidney where tumors are present. The place of the incisions depends on what the doctor feels is the best approach to reach the tumors is. Cryosurgery for kidney cancer could require up to a two day stay in the hospital, so your doctor can monitor for any possible side effects from the procedure. Cryosurgery can freeze surrounding areas others like blood vessels, spleen, liver, pancreas or bowel. The use of ultrasounds and temperature monitoring are used to minimize these effects. Some doctors will perform a double thaw method, which freezes and then thaws the damaged tissues twice to ensure the destruction of the cancerous tissues.

Cryosurgery for kidney cancer is becoming a popular treatment because it only affects the damaging tissues and leaves the healthy tissues of the kidney functioning. Other treatments of kidney actually see the cancerous areas of the kidney actually being removed. This leaves less of the kidney, and often leaves the kidney functioning poorly. Some more traditional treatments would involve actually removing the affected kidney, if necessary, leaving the patient with only one functioning kidney.

Destroying kidney tumors through cryosurgery is much safer than many other treatments, because it is much easier to do then fully removing the kidney or cutting out the damaged areas. Cryosurgery requires far fewer incisions. These fewer incisions lead to reduce loss of blood, less pain during recovery, as well as a shorter healing time and hospital stay compared to open surgery. Furthermore, during a cryosurgery procedure to mitigate the effects of cancerous growths; smaller areas of the kidney are being harmed, which means better kidney functions. If kidney tumors return it is easier to treat as Cryosurgery for kidney cancer allows for multiple treatments.

While these innovative treatments are on the rise, additional studies are needed to determine the efficacy of cryosurgery in successfully treating cancer and improving survival. Data from these continuing studies will allow physicians and urologic professionals to compare cryosurgery with more conventional treatment options such as traditional surgery, pharmaceutical based chemotherapy, and radiation. What’s more, the medical community continues to examine the possibility of using cryosurgery in concert with other treatments to improve survivability and mitigate detrimental side effects.

Because cryosurgery requires a highly trained and skilled urologic expert, a limited number of hospitals and cancer centers currently have skilled personnel and the necessary technology to perform cryosurgery. Individuals should consult with their physicians or urologic specialists in their area to find out where cryosurgery may be a treatment option.