Introduction: The increasing diagnosis of incidental small renal masses has contributed to energy ablative techniques being increasingly utilized as a primary surgical modality. Despite promise associated with thermal ablation, complications related to both cryoablation (CA) and radiofrequency ablations (RFA) do occur. Methods: Contemporary literature on renal ablative procedures (CA and RFA) was reviewed to highlight diagnosis, management, and prevention of complications associated with these procedures. Results: While morbidity for renal thermal ablation is typically less than extirpative renal surgery, a range of complications of varying severity may exist. Such complications can include sequelae from choice of access site, procedural bleeding, visceral injury, or damage to the collecting system or ipsilateral ureter. Conclusions: An understanding of complications secondary to renal ablation is essential for urologists and radiologists to facilitate prompt diagnosis, appropriate management, and future prevention.
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