Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy for Kidney cancer

What is radical nephrectomy?

The entire kidney with the cancer within and with the surrounding fat and the layer known as Gerota’s fascia are removed. It is done for kidney cancer.

What is laparoscopic radical nephrectomy?

Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy is a minimally invasive keyhole approach (laparoscopy) to perform exactly the same procedure that is done in open radical nephrectomy. It is the standard of care for early stage kidney cancer.

How is it being done?

General anesthesia (you are completely asleep) is required. The Procedure is then done through three or four small incisions which are either 1/2 a centimeter or 1cm in length (less than 1/4 to 1/2 and inch).

The kidney is then identified but never actually seen as it is surrounded by both fat and the leathery layer known as Gerota’s fascia. The surgeon identifies and controls the renal artery (blood supply to the kidney). Once the artery is controlled, attention is turned to the vein which is also controlled. The entire specimen is then separated from all of its attachments to the body and put into a sack & removed outside.

What is the advantage of laparoscopic radical nephrectomy as compared to open surgery?

Laparoscopic nephrectomy has been routinely performed since 1990 and has translated into a significant benefits to patients including:

  • reduced blood loss and transfusions,
  • reduced pain,
  • shorter hospital stays,
  • improved cosmesis, and a faster recovery as compared to open surgery.

Are there potential disadvantages?

Most patients with kidney tumors who are candidates for open surgery are also excellent candidates for a laparoscopic approach. These minimally invasive approaches have become the standard of care for most kidney tumors. In general there are no particular disadvantages, however, some situations may dictate the need for open surgery.