The standard treatment for small renal masses is to remove the part of the kidney containing the tumour (a partial nephrectomy). This operation has side effects, such as bleeding and infection, and complications. Radiofrequency ablation is a type of treatment used to treat tumours. It involves inserting a needle through your skin (percutaneous) and into your tumour. Electrical energy is sent down the needle to destroy the tumour cells using heat. Radiofrequency ablation is an alternative treatment for small renal masses. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness, safety, and outcomes of radiofrequency ablation compared to standard treatment with partial nephrectomy.

There were 291 patients with small renal masses in the study. Two thirds had partial nephrectomy, one third had radiofrequency ablation. The average follow-up was 38 for patients who had radiofrequency ablation and 48 months for partial nephrectomy. The average time spent in hospital was 1.04 and 3.57 days, respectively. Radiofrequency ablation was carried out in more patients at high risk from surgery (e.g, having only one kidney, being older, having poor overall health etc.). There was no difference between radiofrequency ablation and partial nephrectomy in terms of survival.

This study shows that radiofrequency ablation is an effective and uncomplicated treatment option for patients with small renal masses. Radiofrequency ablation has similar outcomes to partial nephrectomy and offers an effective treatment option for small renal masses in patients who are not suitable for surgery.

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