Robotic Surgery Nephrectomy

A nephrectomy involves the surgical removal of a kidney or a section of the kidney. Nephrectomies are performed to treat patients with various forms of kidney disease, including kidney cancer, and to procure organs from living donors who have made the altruistic decision to give the gift of life.

Using robotic surgery for laparoscopic partial nephrectomy instead of handheld laparoscopy presents benefits comparable to those achieved with robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy. Just like prostatectomy, partial nephrectomy is a technically challenging procedure. Many surgeons encounter fewer complications and shorter clamp time of the blood vessels resulting in better recoveries compared to partial nephrectomies done without the assistance of the robotic system.

Another advantage is the ability to offer robotic laparoscopic partial nephrectomy to patients with large tumors who otherwise would have to choose between a laparoscopic radical nephrectomy, where the entire kidney would be lost, or an open partial nephrectomy, which would lead to a longer hospital stay and recovery for the patient.

A typical robotic prostatectomy patient can expect to go home the day after a robotic partial nephrectomy with recovery lasting approximately three weeks. All patients are unique and individual results may vary.

The three forms of surgical treatment are:

    Robotic Surgery Nephrectomy
  • Partial nephrectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the cancer within the kidney and some of the tissue around it. A partial nephrectomy may be done to prevent loss of kidney function when the other kidney is damaged or has already been removed.
  • Simple nephrectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the kidney only.
  • Radical nephrectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the kidney, the adrenal gland, surrounding tissue, and, usually, nearby lymph nodes.

Kidney surgery is traditionally performed using an open approach, which requires a large abdominal incision. Another approach, conventional laparoscopy, is less invasive, but limits the doctor's dexterity, visualization and control, compared to open surgery.

Robotic Surgery for Kidney Cancer

If your doctor recommends surgery for kidney cancer, you may be a candidate for a new, minimally invasive approach, robotic surgery partial nephrectomy or nephrectomy. Robotic surgery's advanced technology allows doctors to perform more precisely than conventional instrumentation allows. Robotic surgery offers numerous potential benefits over a conventional open surgery, including:

  • Significantly less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Fewer transfusions
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less scarring
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Increased potential for kidney preservation, in certain prescribed cancer operations Better clinical outcomes, in many cases

Robotic surgery for kidney cancer incorporates the best techniques of open surgery and applies them to a robot-assisted, minimally invasive approach. The precision and dexterity afforded by robotic surgery's advanced instrumentation facilitates a minimally invasive approach for treating kidney cancer.

As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is patient and procedure specific. If you are a candidate for kidney surgery, talk to a urologist who performs robotic surgery for kidney cancer and to your physician. Understanding the risks and benefits of each treatment can help you determine the best option for you.

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