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Robotic Partial Nephrectomy

Robotic/laparoscopic partial nephrectomy for kidney cancer
Stanford surgeons are using cutting-edge technology to perform robotic partial nephrectomy, a delicate procedure used to treat kidney cancer. The robot allows the surgeon to have a three-dimensional (3-D) view of the surgical field, at a greatly increased magnification, up to 15 times greater than the human eye. Fine articulating instruments, under the command of the surgeon, are used to precisely remove the tumor alone and preserve the remaining kidney. The surgery can be performed using very small incisions, greatly decreasing recovery time, reducing pain and minimizing scarring. This allows for patients to return to their daily lives with a minimum of inconvenience, despite having undergone major surgery. 

Advantages of robotic partial nephrectomy
Kidney specialists are gaining greater understanding of the benefits of partial nephrectomy. Not only does it decrease the risk of future kidney failure, but can also improve health in other ways, such as in preventing future cardiovascular disease. Although the surgery is technically more challenging, Stanford surgeons have extensive experience in performing robotic partial nephrectomy, with a low overall complication rate. Stanford researchers have (link here) shown that there is an improved quality of life due to decrease in risk from other comorbid conditions, and demonstrated equivalent safety and outcomes to traditional procedures.
 
How is the procedure performed?
At Stanford, several tools are used to ensure complete removal of the tumor.  First, intraoperative ultrasound is used to confirm the site of the tumor and help guide the resection by accurate imaging of the tumor with an ultrasound probe. A special dye is used to help differentiate tumor from normal kidney to ensure that as much normal kidney is saved as possible.  When the tumor is removed, it is sent to the pathologist to ensure the entire tumor was removed with no residual tumor left behind on the kidney prior to completing the surgery.

Laporascopic or open radical nephrectomy
Occasionally, not all kidney tumors are amenable to sparing the kidney, usually given the size of the tumor, but also due to location. In these situations, the recommended treatment is laparoscopic radical nephrectomy (removal of the entire kidney) or an open radical nephrectomy. Most tumors are amenable to removal with laparoscopic means, but the overall size of the tumor can impact the ability to successfully remove the kidney with minimally invasive approaches.

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