Kidney Image A study by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota reports short-term success in using percutaneous cryoablation to freeze kidney tumors. The procedure is used on patients who are too sick to go through surgery.

Percutaneous ablation uses needles to penetrate the skin and deliver directly to the tumor either high-intensity, tissue-destroying heat through radiofrequency ablation, or freezing cold through cryoablation, the hospital said in a release.

A review of the records of the 23 men and 17 women with kidney cancer treated with percutaneous cryoablation at Mayo Clinic between March 2003 and August 2005 found cryoablation was successful in 38 of the 40 patients. The report said no repeat treatment was necessary.

“We’ve seen good results in the initial follow-up with these patients, and hope that the long-term results prove this to be a safe alternative for some kidney tumors,” study co-author Bradley Leibovich, M.D., a Mayo Clinic urologist, said.