The most common treatment method for kidney cancer is surgery. 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 only the abnormal portion of the kidney for cancer is called a partial nephrectomy.

At Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, both a nephrectomy and partial nephrectomy are performed either by a laparoscopic or robotic-assisted laparoscopic approach, meaning the entire kidney or the abnormal portion of the kidney is removed through small “keyhole” incisions on the front of the abdomen. On some occasions, the traditional open surgical approach is necessary for kidney removal when the mass involving the kidney is very large.

Holy Cross is a pioneer in robotic da Vinci® nephrectomy. The potential advantages of a robotic nephrectomy compared to traditional open nephrectomy include:

  • Less blood loss
  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Less postoperative pain
  • A quicker recovery
  • A faster return to normal activities
  • Improved cosmetic results

Illustration of open kidney surgery incision vs. da Vinci surgery incision on male body

A robotic partial and total nephrectomy is different from traditional laparoscopic surgery. The da Vinci surgical system includes a robot and a surgeon console. The robot's four arms are positioned over and inside a patient during the surgery. The surgeon console that is located just a few feet from the patient is a separate unit that controls the movements of the robot inside the body and gives surgeons a highly magnified, high-definition (HD) and three-dimensional (3-D) view of the body cavity. With robotic technology, a surgeon's hand movements are motion-scaled and any hand tremor is filtered, resulting in perfectly translated precise movements of the instruments.

As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is both patient- and procedure-specific. While nephrectomy using the da Vinci Surgical System is considered safe and effective, it may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.

Contact a physician who performs minimally invasive robotic kidney surgery: