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Shahram Shawn Gholami, M.D.

Internationally recognized expert
in Robotic Surgery

performed thousands of laparoscopic and robotic
procedures since 2000. Learn more about Dr. Gholami


Robotic Nephrectomy for Kidney Cancer – Full vs. Partial

Kidney surgery is often considered the primary treatment for most kidney cancers. Depending on the size of the tumor, the location, stage of the disease and the patient’s age and overall health, a variety of surgical procedures are available.

Surgery typically involves removing the entire kidney or the abnormal portion (mass) of the kidney. Complete removal of the kidney for kidney cancer is called a nephrectomy; removal of the abnormal portion of the kidney for cancer is called a partial nephrectomy.

What is a Robotic Nephrectomy?

A robotic nephrectomy can be done for both partial and complete kidney removal approaches, meaning the entire kidney or the abnormal portion of the kidney are removed through small incisions on the front of the abdomen. In order to remove the entire kidney or the abnormal portion of the kidney, one of the laparoscopic incisions is typically made slightly larger to remove the kidney or partial kidney specimen safely contained inside a plastic bag.

What are the Advantages of a Robotic Nephrectomy?

A robotic nephrectomy uses state-of-the-art robotic-assisted technology to help our doctors perform a more precise surgery than conventional instrumentation allows. There are numerous potential benefits of a robotic nephrectomy, including:

  • Less blood loss;
  • Fewer post-surgical complications;
  • Significantly less pain;
  • Less risk of infection;
  • Minimal scarring;
  • Shorter hospital stay;
  • Shorter recovery time;
  • Better clinical outcomes, in most cases.

How Does a Partial Robotic Nephrectomy Work?

With a partial robotic nephrectomy, the system also offers the surgeon improved dexterity as it uses instinctive operative controls to move laparoscopic instruments with greater movement capabilities than the human wrist would normally allow. These controls may allow for greater operative precision during the reconstruction (rebuilding) of the kidney after the kidney cancer has been removed.

Once the kidney cancer has been removed, the kidney is repaired by closing the collecting system (plumbing within the kidney) and then by closing the functioning kidney tissues. The removal of the kidney cancer and the repair of the kidney should be in as short a time as possible to prevent long-term damage to kidney function.

When the kidney has been reconstructed, the blood supply to the kidney is opened, and the kidney cancer is removed from the body by extending one of the small incisions. While the patient is still under anesthesia, the surgeon works with a pathologist to assure that the entire cancer has been removed. Once complete removal of the kidney cancer has been confirmed, a small tube may be left in the area of the surgery (drain) to remove any excess fluids that may collect in the area.

Prior to scheduling the procedure, we will engage in an extensive consultation regarding the nature of your kidney disease as well as all of the available treatments and their advantages and limitations. If you feel that you are a candidate for a complete or partial robotic nephrectomy – or just want to discuss your options – call our office today to schedule a complimentary consultation!

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