Kidney Cancer

Published On 07/11/2011

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The kidneys are two small organs located behind the abdomen, on each side of the spine. By producing urine, kidneys remove toxic by-products and excess fluids from the body, which helps maintain a critical balance of salt, potassium and acid. Cancer can form in the small tubes inside the kidney, which are used for filtering blood, and in the center of the kidney where urine collects. 

Treatment options for kidney cancer depend upon the staging of the cancer (how large and whether it has spread) and the patient’s age and general health. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are all potential treatment options. Kidney cancer is relatively resistant to radiation and chemotherapy; therefore, surgical removal of the kidney or kidney tumors is the preferred treatment option. The surgical treatment options are:

  • 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.

If your doctor recommends surgery for kidney cancer, you may be a candidate for a new, minimally invasive approach - da Vinci Nephrectomy or Partial Nephrectomy.

da Vinci Surgery uses state-of-the-art technology to help your doctor perform a more precise operation than conventional instrumentation allows. It 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

da Vinci Surgery for kidney cancer incorporates the best techniques of open surgery and applies them to a robotic-assisted, minimally invasive approach. The precision and dexterity afforded by the da Vinci Surgical System’s advanced instrumentation facilitates a minimally invasive approach for treating kidney cancer. Talk with your physician to see if this procedure could be right for you.

To find a physician trained in robotic-assisted surgery, call 888.777.5959 or use our physician locator.