Why choose robotic nephrectomy?

If you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer or have a kidney damaged by injury or disease, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove some or all of the kidney, a procedure called a nephrectomy, or partial nephrectomy.

For most kidney cancers, surgery is the standard treatment. If your tumor is in your kidney, you may be a candidate for robotic kidney removal, which is the least invasive type of surgery to remove a kidney. If you have a small renal mass, you may be a candidate for removal of a portion of the kidney, called a partial nephrectomy. If so, you now have the option of choosing robotic nephrectomy or robotic partial nephrectomy at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Center for Robotic Surgery. The da Vinci® robotic system provides surgeons with the greatest range of motion and most precise instrumentation available in laparoscopic--or minimally invasive--surgery. The surgeon, seated at a console beside the patient, manipulates the robotic arms through several small incisions to remove the diseased kidney.

Benefits of robotic kidney removal include:

  • Highly precise removal of cancerous tissue
  • A shorter operation
  • Less pain following surgery
  • Less blood loss and reduced likelihood a transfusion will be necessary
  • Smaller incisions promote faster healing and leave minimal scarring
  • Improved urinary, bowel, and pelvic symptoms
  • Lower risk of complications
  • A shorter hospital stay

How robot-assisted surgery works

Your surgeon is 100% in control of the robot. Through a control module, surgeons use miniature operating instruments that allow for extremely precise movements. In fact, surgeons have a greater range of motion, can see more clearly, and have greater dexterity when using the robotic system than with traditional surgery or even other minimally invasive techniques, such as laparoscopic surgery (where the surgeon holds the instruments).

The da Vinci® robotic system features:

  • Wristed instruments that provide 360-degree rotation, compared to 180-degree for human wrists. Instruments also filter any hand tremors.
  • Camera system that provides three-dimensional (3D) displays of the surgery area and 4x magnification.
  • Combining the enhancements in sight and instrumentation, the surgeon is able to perform intricate surgery requiring precision, while minimizing any disruption or injury to surrounding tissues and organs.

Though robotic nephrectomy has been used successfully worldwide in hundreds of thousands of procedures to date, not all patients are candidates for robotic nephrectomy. Nephrectomy can be performed through open surgery, minimally invasive surgery or robotic surgery. Be sure to discuss the benefits and risks of each surgical technique with your doctor.


"Kidney Cancer: Treatment Options"; Cancer.Net