Pain control requirements for percutaneous ablation of renal tumors: Cryoablation versus radiofrequency ablation - Initial observations

Mohamad E. Allaf, Ioannis M. Varkarakis, Sam B. Bhayani, Takeshi Inagaki, Louis R. Kavoussi, Stephen B. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To retrospectively compare the pain control requirements of patients undergoing computed tomography (CT)-guided percutaneous radiofrequency (RF) ablation with those of patients undergoing CT-guided percutaneous cryoablation of small (≤4-cm) renal tumors. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was HIPAA compliant and received institutional review board exemption; informed consent was not required. Medical and procedure records of patients who underwent RF ablation and cryoablation of renal tumors from June 19, 2003, to February 28, 2004, were retrospectively reviewed for clinical data, tumor characteristics, and anesthesia information. During the study period, 10 men (mean age, 66.5 years) underwent cryoablation of 11 renal lesions, and 14 patients (11 men, four women; mean age, 68.1 years) underwent RF ablation of 15 renal tumors. Analgesic and sedative requirements during the procedure were compared. Standard anesthesia consisted of 5 mL of 1% lidocaine injected locally, and conscious sedation consisted of 50 μg of fentanyl and 1 mg of midazolam administered intravenously. The Fisher exact test and Student t test were used to compare clinical factors and drug requirements between the two groups. RESULTS: There was no difference in terms of patient demographics, tumor diameter, or distribution of central versus noncentral lesions between the two groups. Cryoablation was associated with a significantly lower dose of fentanyl (165.0 μg [RF group] vs 75.0 μg [cryoablation group]; P < .001) and midazolam (2.9 mg [RF group] vs 1.6 mg [cryoablation group]; P = .026). In the RF group, one patient required general anesthesia, one patient required supplemental narcotics (5 mg of oxycodone) and sedatives (1 mg lorezapam), and one patient became apneic for a brief interval after receiving additional narcotics for pain during the procedure. An additional RF session was terminated early in one patient because of pain, and further medication could not be administered owing to bradycardia. No patients in the cryoablation group required any additional or alternate anesthetics. CONCLUSION: Image-guided percutaneous cryoablation of small (≤4-cm) renal lesions appears to require less analgesia than RF ablation. Prospective trials with validated pain scales are needed to examine this further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-370
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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