Robotic Partial Nephrectomy

Traditionally, treatment for kidney cancer involves removing the entire kidney. Robotic partial nephrectomy removes the cancer 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 a select group of physicians in the world who regularly perform this specialized and complicated operation, using advanced robotic surgical technology.

Advantages of partial nephrectomy

Partial nephrectomy offers several advantages over radical nephrectomy, including: 

  • Lower 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 one

When performed by experienced surgeon, this treatment option does not increase the chance of recurrence (the cancer coming back).

Robotic Partial Nephrectomy Videos

Watch a robotic partial nephrectomy procedure and listen to two brothers share the story of their kidney-sparing surgeries at Henry Ford.

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How partial robotic nephrectomy works

  1. In this surgery, the kidney is first identified and released from its surrounding structures. The blood vessels going to the kidney are identified, and the tumor is identified.
  2. Blood flow then is stopped to the kidney using special vascular clamps. This is necessary in most cases, as the kidney will otherwise bleed if the blood flow is not temporarily stopped to the kidney.
  3. The entire tumor is cut out of the kidney.
  4. The kidney is reconstructed.

Kidney reconstruction is necessary to prevent bleeding after removal of the tumor. A variety of methods are used to reconstruct the kidney and sew it back together.

After the kidney is reconstructed, the blood flow to the kidney is restored by removing the vascular clamps which are on the blood vessels supplying the kidney. The kidney is 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.

Because of the complexity of this surgery, patients may have a higher chance of postoperative complications from a robotic partial nephrectomy than a robotic radical nephrectomy. Your doctor can help you decide which procedure is the best option for you.

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