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What is a Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Partial Nephrectomy?

Patients with kidney disease or kidney cancer may require a surgical procedure called a robot assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy. This is a kidney-sparing procedure in which only the diseased section of the kidney is removed – a partial nephrectomy.

How is this procedure performed?

A robot assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy is a minimally invasive procedure in which several small incisions are made in the patient’s abdominal region to give access to robotically controlled surgical instruments. This surgery is different from a radical nephrectomy in which the entire kidney is removed.

Robotic surgery gives  surgeons technological advantages including better visualization and magnification of the diseased area / tumor. The robot also gives the surgeon more flexibility and precise maneuvering during the operation and when repairing the kidney after tumor removal.

Robotic surgery has documented benefits compared to an open surgery including: the potential for less pain and blood loss, minimized complications, shorter hospital recovery, and smaller scars at the entry points.

Important note: A partial nephrectomy may become a radical (or complete) nephrectomy if the tumor is more extensive than originally indicated. Also, a robotic surgery may become an open surgery if the technical aspects of the surgery, and the safety of the patient requires this.

Possible risks and complications

Because the robot assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy is minimally invasive, the patient should generally experience mild aftereffects. Following surgery, patients may feel pain or notice small amounts of blood in their urine.

As with any surgery, infections may occur. If you are experiencing infection related symptoms, such as fever, ongoing pain, tenderness, or burning at the incision site(s), contact our office as soon as possible. In addition, notify the surgeon if you experience severe nausea, vomiting, or the inability to urinate (urinary retention). Finally, if the patient has on-going or large amounts of blood in their urine, they should also contact our office.

Prior to the procedure

Several days prior to surgery, the patient will undergo pre-operative testing including imaging, blood work and possible cardiac clearance. The surgeon will advise individual patients about the discontinuation of blood-thinning medicines and any dietary restrictions.

Basic pre-op preparation

  • Discontinue blood-thinning medications as outlined by the surgeon.
  • Bring containers for contact lenses or dentures to the hospital to store items during surgery.
  • Bring loose-fitting clothing to wear home after release.

Following the procedure

Following the procedure, patients will be instructed on dietary and activity guidelines, basic incision care, allowable medications, and their expected recovery time. If a drainage tube is placed, or a foley catheter is inserted to assist in urinary function, the patient will also be instructed on care and when to follow-up with their surgeon.

Contact Urology Austin for a consultation with one of our providers to learn more about this procedure.

Related link

Intuitive Surgical Robot Assisted Partial Nephrectomy