Widespread use of cross-sectional imaging has contributed to an increase in diagnosis of small renal masses. While extirpation has historically been the "gold standard" for managing such tumors, thermal ablation is increasingly utilized as primary surgical therapy. Contemporary series suggest that ablative procedures maintain oncologic outcomes similar to extirpation while minimizing patient morbidity. As more renal masses are diagnosed in elderly or comorbid patients, ablation will likely assume a central role in management strategies.
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