A partial nephrectomy, also known as a renal-sparing surgery, removes the tumor while preserving the normal and unaffected portion of the kidney.
Today, most kidney cancer patients have tumors that can be treated with a kidney-sparing approach. Our surgeons are among the most experienced in the world in performing this complex operation using advanced robotic technology for a minimally invasive approach.
Advantages of partial nephrectomy
- Reduced chance of long-term kidney failure
- Better overall kidney function
- Preservation of the affected kidney as a backup, in case something happens to the other kidney.
- When performed by an experienced surgeon, this treatment option does not increase the chance of recurrence (the cancer coming back).
How robotic partial nephrectomy works
Robotic partial nephrectomy is performed with a surgical robot using tiny keyhole incisions in the body. The robotic surgical instruments and a camera are inserted through these incisions to perform the surgery.
With a robotic partial nephrectomy:
- The kidney is identified and released from its surrounding structures. The surgeon then identifies the blood vessels going to the kidney and the tumor.
- Using special vascular clamps, blood flow to the kidney is stopped. This is necessary in most cases, as the kidney will otherwise bleed if the blood flow is not temporarily stopped to the kidney.
- The entire tumor is cut out of the kidney.
- The kidney is reconstructed. Reconstruction is necessary to prevent bleeding after tumor removal. A variety of methods are used to reconstruct the kidney and sew it back together.
- After the kidney is reconstructed, blood flow to the kidney is restored by removing the vascular clamps.
- The kidneys are inspected to ensure there is no bleeding from where the kidney was cut. Generally, the tumor is removed from the body through one of the laparoscopic incisions.
This is a complex surgery. In some cases, patients may have a higher chance of postoperative complication from a robotic partial nephrectomy than a robotic radical nephrectomy.