Thermal ablation of small renal masses is increasingly accepted as an alternative to partial nephrectomy, particularly in patients with multiple comorbidities. Many professional societies support this alternate treatment with updated guidelines. Before performing thermal ablation, it is important to stratify risk and assess technical feasibility by evaluating tumor imaging features such as size, location, and centrality. Routine postablation imaging with CT or MRI is necessary for assessment of residual or recurrent tumor, evidence of complications, or new renal masses outside the ablation zone. The normal spectrum and evolution of findings at CT and MRI include a halo appearance of the ablation zone, ablation zone contraction, and ablation zone calcifications. Tumor recurrence frequently manifests at CT or MRI as new nodular enhancement at the periphery of an expanding ablation zone, although it is normal for the ablation zone to enlarge within the first few months. Recognizing early tumor recurrence is important, as small renal masses are often easily treated with repeat ablations. Potential complications of thermal ablation include vascular injury, urine leak, ureteral stricture, nerve injury, and bowel perforation. The risk of these complications may be related to tumor size and location.©RSNA, 2019.

Radiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. 2019 Sep 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Mark A Lum, Shreena B Shah, Jeremy C Durack, Ines Nikolovski

From the Department of Radiology, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, 525 E 68th St, New York, NY 10065 (M.A.L., S.B.S.); and Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY (J.C.D., I.N.).