Robotic-assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy provides patients with a safe and effective way to remove small renal tumors while preserving surrounding kidney tissue.

This minimally-invasive surgical technique provides patients with less discomfort and equivalent results when compared to the traditional open surgery. Additionally, the robotic surgical platform provides the surgeon with more freedom of movement and a magnified 3-dimensional view allowing for more precise dissection than traditional laparoscopic and open surgical techniques. Compared to conventional open surgery, patients undergoing robotic-assisted and laparoscopic surgery have significantly less post-operative pain, shorter hospital stays, earlier return to work and daily activities, and smaller incisions.

At MedStar Georgetown, we provide the latest robotic surgical technology with the most up-to-date Da Vinci Si surgical system that enables our surgeons the use of the Firefly® imaging system. Using a near-infrared camera and a benign tracer injected into the blood called indocyanine green, surgeons are able to see the blood supply to the kidney and tumor as well as differentiate cancerous from normal kidney tissue. This enables better control of the kidney’s blood supply, potentially less injury to the surrounding kidney, and limits the risk of leaving any tumor behind.

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For most patients, potential advantages with robot partial nephrectomy include:

  • Decreased blood loss and decreased likelihood of blood transfusion
  • Improved visualization of the anatomy due to 3-D vision, increased magnification, and less blood loss
  • Small incisions less than ½ an inch.
  • Precise, fine surgical maneuvers guided by the surgeon
  • Less pain after surgery, decreasing the need for pain medications
  • Faster recovery. Most patients are well enough to leave the hospital less than 24 hours after surgery and resume routine activities 1–2 weeks after surgery. 

Laparoscopic/Robotic Partial Nephrectomy

Patients with small tumors can benefit from this procedure. Which takes approximately 3-4 hours to perform. Patients are discharged within 1-2 days, and can return to work within 10-14 days after surgery.

Partial nephrectomy is the preferable approach to small renal tumors (less than 4cm) when feasible in patients that are good operative candidates. However, some tumors that are deep within the kidney or close to the kidney’s blood supply may not be amenable to partial nephrectomy. Additionally, larger tumors (>4–7cm) can sometimes be treated with partial nephrectomy but may often require complete nephrectomy depending on the location of the tumor. However, it is often possible to complete a partial nephrectomy on tumors >7cm in the hands of experienced surgeons. The decision to undergo partial vs. radical nephrectomy should made by the patient and physician following initial consultation.