Robotic Radical Nephrectomy

Minimally-invasive surgery for kidney removal has become a new standard of care for the removal of kidney cancer. The procedure can also be performed for kidneys which no longer function. The surgery itself, known as a Robotic Radical Nephrectomy, is performed with tiny keyhole incisions.

Through these incisions, robotic surgical instruments and a camera are inserted to perform the surgery. After inflating the abdomen with gas, the colon is moved away from the kidney. The kidney normally has a covering of fat around it. This fat is left on the kidney so the cancer or tumor is not exposed.

How robotic radical nephrectomy works

  1. After the kidney is dissected, the blood vessels going to the kidney are located. The kidney normally has one artery bringing blood to the kidney and one vein exiting the kidney and bringing blood back to the body. In some cases, there are more than one artery and vein. This is not considered abnormal, but it is less common. When the artery and vein are identified, they are clipped or ligated. This cuts off the blood flow to the kidney permanently.
  2. Once the blood vessels are divided, the rest of the kidney is removed from its attachments to the liver or spleen, back muscles and the adrenal gland. In some cases, the adrenal gland is removed with the kidney.
  3. After the kidney is totally freed up, it is removed from the body through a small incision.
  4. The incisions are closed and the patient is taken to the recovery room.
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