Robotic Nephrectomy & Partial Nephrectomy

Kidney cancer is a surgically treated disease. When contained in the kidney with no spread to other parts of the body, surgical removal of kidney cancer affords a high chance of cure. Kidney cancer does not respond well to radiation, chemotherapy or other types of treatment. Traditionally, surgery to remove kidney cancer has been done with open surgery. Surgical treatment for kidney cancer is now, most often performed laparoscopically, with or without the use of the da Vinci robot.

In this procedure, the kidney cancer is removed through small, dime-sized incisions. Minimally invasive surgery for kidney cancer can involve removal of the entire kidney (radical nephrectomy), or just a portion of the kidney (partial nephrectomy). If the kidney cancer is large and occupies a more central portion of the kidney, near the major blood vessels to the kidney, then the entire kidney is removed (radical nephrectomy). If the cancer is smaller (generally less than 5 cm), and occupies a more peripheral part of the kidney, then just the cancerous part of the kidney can be removed (partial nephrectomy).

Radical nephrectomy can be performed laparoscopically, with or without the use of the robot. Partial nephrectomy is usually done with the assistance of the da Vinci robot, as the procedure requires sewing the kidney closed once the cancer is removed. Partial nephrectomy is a very delicate process, and the wristed motion of the surgical robot provides the surgeon with superior control of the operative field. Recovery for these procedures is much quicker than when they were through open, large incisions. Hospital stays are typically just a couple of days. Oncological cure rates remain high, comparable to the open surgical cases.