considering treatment options for kidney tumors, preserving any kidney function
is preferable to removing the entire organ: Cardiovascular health improves,
hypertension is less frequent and re-hospitalization rates decrease.
Urologists with UC Health are now offering patients a
non-surgical treatment for small kidney tumors that results in virtually no
pain and allows the patient’s kidney to be spared.
The procedure—known as computed tomography (CT)-guided
percutaneous cryoablation—uses 3-D imaging technology to direct a small probe through
the skin and into the kidney to freeze cancerous tissue.
James Donovan, MD, chief of urology for the UC College of
Medicine and urologist with UC Health,
says the procedure is particularly useful for elderly patients or people with significant
medical conditions—such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or heart
disease—who may not be able to tolerate a major surgery.
Kidneys are small, crescent-shaped organs that filter blood
and remove waste products from the body via urine. People can live with one or part of one kidney, but if both
organs are removed or dysfunctional the blood must be mechanically cleansed
using a process known as dialysis.
Clinical data has shown that removing only the tumor and
sparing the rest of the kidney is as effective in curing cancer as removing the
entire organ in certain patients.
"Patients with posterior tumors—embedded deep in the
backside of the kidney—typically don’t qualify for minimally invasive surgery
because the tumors are hard to access. Cryoablation spares those patients
drastic open surgery and still provides good cancer control. The CT-guidance
improves the effectiveness of the treatment,” adds Donovan.
UC Health urologists have used this technique in eight patients
since beginning to offer it at UC Health West
Chester Hospital in March 2011. Patients have reported virtually no
pain, spent one night in the hospital and gone home the next day.
"Studies have shown the success rate is higher and
complication rates are lower for cryoablation of kidney tumors when the
procedure is performed as collaboration between urology and radiology,” adds
Donovan, who has partnered with Glen Taylor, MD, an interventional radiologist who practices at
West Chester Hospital, and Vladimir Mouraviev, MD, an endourology fellow at the
College of Medicine, to build the UC Health-based program.
UC Health urologists were among the first in Greater
Cincinnati to offer and have significant experience performing minimally
invasive partial nephrectomy—what is known as "kidney-sparing surgery”—to
remove small cancerous tumors without sacrificing the entire organ, using
minimally invasive techniques. The team also offers cryoablation to treat
certain localized prostate cancers.
For more information on UC Health urology services, visit ucphysicians.com. For appointments or referrals,
call (513) 475-8787.