Partial nephrectomy, on the other hand, represents a significant advancement in the treatment of small kidney cancers. Almost all the kidney tumors less than 4 cm and selected tumors between 4 and 7 cm in size are most appropriately treated by removal of the tumor itself, while leaving the remaining normal part of the kidney behind. This has significant advantages as compared to taking out the whole kidney:
- It enables the preservation of maximum kidney function
- It significantly decreases the chances of kidney failure
(chronic renal failure) and the future possibility of needing dialysis
- It decreases the chances of developing secondary medical
problems due to decreased kidney function including high blood pressure, heart attacks
and brain stroke
- It has now been proven
in research that due to the above factors, patients undergoing partial nephrectomy
for small tumors live longer than those who undergo radical nephrectomy.
Partial nephrectomy is ideally suited for robotic surgery. Removing the kidney tumor from the surrounding normal area and reconstructing the remnant kidney is a complex task that requires exceptional dexterity, experience and training. This can be achieved with relative ease by a skilled urological cancer surgeon with experience and training in the use of robotic technology. Robotic partial nephrectomy enables fine reconstruction of the kidney thereby decreasing the chances of complications pertaining to bleeding or urine leakage from the kidney. It also provides the benefits of minimally invasive surgery common to all laparoscopic and robotic approaches.
Other treatment for kidney cancer that has not spread outside the kidney includes cryotherapy (freezing) and radiofrequency ablation (heating). However, both these treatments result in a higher chance of the disease coming back (recurrence) as compared to surgery and are thus usually reserved for patients who are not fit to undergo surgery because of other serious medical problems.
To learn more about robotic surgery for kidney cancer click here