couple with doctor


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the advantages of percutaneous ablation over laparoscopic surgical techniques?

A. The advantages or disadvantages vary on a case by case basis. Some patients will be suited to one or other of the treatments.  However, in general terms, the theoretical advantages are as follows;

  • Incisionless
  • Scarless
  • Back to work quicker than laparoscopic techniques
  • Preserves normal functioning tissue better than laparoscopic techniques
  • Less time in hospital
  • Less pain

Q. Is the technique as reliable as laparoscopic surgery?

A. There are no Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT)’s comparing the procedures but our data suggests that cancer free survival and complications are similar. We are working hard to publish our data in order to generate interest in a multinational multicentre RCT to answer this question in detail. In 2010 kidney cancer cryotherapy was approved by NICE, the NHS body that assesses new drugs and procedures. To access that report click here.

Q. Why should I choose Cancer Ablation UK?

A. Quite simply

  • The best operators in Europe are with CAUK.
  • Our data is published and accessible.
  • We are widely regarded as pioneers of this technology.

Q. Where is this procedure undertaken?

A. Dr's Breen and Peebles operate at the Spire private hospital Southampton. Prof. Gangi and Dr Arya operate out of hospitals in Harley Street in addition to their base Lodon teaching hospitals. Prof Greene operates at both the Newcastle Nuffield and the Washington Spire hospitals. 

Q. How long will the procedure take and what happens afterwards?

A. The ablation procedure typically takes two or three hours. You will wake up in the recovery room where your vital signs will be monitored. You may have a urinary catheter but this is unusual. You will be able to drink fluids immediately and eat food if you are managing fluids well.

Q. How long will I be in hospital?

A. Depending on your particular circumstances, hospital stays are usually one night. Occasionally patients are suitable for day case treatment.

Q. Do I have to attend a preassessment?

A. At present yes. It is important for us to undertake a general health screening, and see you in person. We will be developing an online tool shortly.

Q. Does it hurt?

A. We have data from over 300 consecutive patients. Most patients require a strong painkiller immediately after the procedure, but six hours later are only requiring simple painkillers that are available in a chemist. 25% of our patients require no painkillers at all.

Q. Do I need a General Anaesthetic?

A. In most cases yes. This is administered in the CT scanner suite. Some cases can be done under sedation but best practice is total control with anaesthesia. If you are concerned this can be discussed with Dr Neil McGill BM DA FRCA, our Consultant Anaesthetist.

Q. When can I return to work?

A. Although we advise taking at least 5 days off work we are aware that some patients are returning to work before this. As the procedure is relatively pain free and incisionless, most patients feel they are able to undertake moderate duties after 48 hours

Q. What follow up arrangements will be made?

A. You will be seen a few weeks after the procedure where a CT scan is done to assess the results of the treatment. Results of any biopsy will be discussed at this appointment. From this appointment you will then return to the care of your cancer specialist.

Q. What happens if I need retreatment?

Retreatment rates are less than 5% and falling year on year as our experience grows. Retreatment is required if the margin of safety has not been achieved or an ellipse of tumour persists. Retreatment is offered at no further expense to the patient providing it occurs within 3 months of initial ablation.

Q. Where can I find out more?

A. You may find the following links helpful