PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To provide an overview of the current research on renal tissue ablation, highlighting novel ablation techniques and technologies. RECENT FINDINGS: As long-term data on renal radio frequency ablation (RFA) and cryoablation confirming their oncologic efficacy emerge, ongoing research aims at improving the treatment profiles of these techniques as well as developing novel methods for renal tissue ablation. SUMMARY: Although nephron-sparing surgery is the gold standard treatment for small renal masses confirmed malignant, ablative therapies are an option in elderly patients, who may be poor surgical candidates. RFA and cryoablation have each been used for renal tissue ablation for over a decade but their efficacy in ablation of central lesions or lesions more than 3cm in size is limited. Increasing ablation size and improving efficiency of thermal energy delivery are the goals of research in RFA and cryoablation. Novel ablation technologies including microwave ablation, irreversible electroporation and high-intensity focused ultrasound among others have undergone preliminary preclinical and clinical evaluation in select series but require further development and assessment of outcomes prior to routine clinical use for renal tumor ablation.
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