Robotic partial nephrectomy treating kidney/renal cancer/tumour; renal cell carcinoma

What is robotic partial nephrectomy?

Robotic partial nephrectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed for the treatment of kidney cancer and tumours, as well as renal cell carcinoma. During the procedure the cancerous tumour on the kidney is removed. Because the procedure is performed with an extremely high level of precision, the surrounding healthy tissue is left unharmed, allowing the kidney to function properly after the surgery.

How does it work?

During the procedure, your surgeon will make several tiny incisions in the abdomen, through which the robotic instruments are inserted. The abdomen is filled with gas, allowing your surgeon a better view of the relevant organs. The colon is gently moved away from the kidney, and some of the fat coating the kidney is removed in order to expose the surface of the kidney. The blood flow to the kidney is temporarily stopped, and your surgeon is then able to remove the tumour from the kidney, before stitching the remaining kidney tissue back together. Blood flow is restored, and the incisions are closed.

What are the benefits?

There are a number of benefits to opting for robotic partial nephrectomy over traditional open surgery and laparoscopic surgery. Because the procedure is minimally invasive(key hole surgery), there is less scarring and the recovery period is typically much shorter. There is also generally less pain, a greatly reduced risk of infection. The traditional open surgery will be performed via a 30cm flank/abdominal incision with a significant cosmetic scar, long recovery period and high risk of hernia.

If a robotic or laparoscopic partial nephrectomy is performed, only the tumour/cancer will be removed and a large part of healthy kidney will be spared. This significantly reduces the risk of developing chronic renal failure/dialysis in  the long term.

Robotic or laparoscopic partial nephrectomy is the gold standard across the world for the management of kidney cancer. If this is not technically feasible, a laparoscopic total nephrectomy should be performed. Traditional open surgery for kidney cancer should never be recommended as the first choice and you should be referred to a laparoscopic or robotic urological surgeon.

Robotic partial nephrectomy is also more precise than other surgical techniques. The surgical instruments that are used during the procedure have a greater range of motion than the human hand, and the high definition camera allows your surgeon to see the inside of the body in enhanced detail.

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