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Traditionally, kidney surgery required large incisions with lengthy hospitalization and recovery. Minimally invasive surgery, also often known as laparoscopic or keyhole surgery, has recently been developed in the field of urologic surgery with the advancement of engineering and computer technologies.
How laparoscopic kidney surgery works
During laparoscopic surgery your physician makes a series of small incisions in your lower abdomen and inserts a tiny tube with a light and a camera (i.e., a laparoscope) to access the kidney.
The surgeon navigates and inspects the region on a TV-like monitor that receives images from the camera. Once in place, your doctor can visualize tissue, biopsy suspicious regions, remove tumors, or even remove the kidney with a cutting instrument and tissue retrieval apparatus that is also part of the laparoscope.
Picture 1: One method of removing kidney cancer via laparoscopic technique (Transperitoneal laparoscopic radical nephrectomy), which requires only 3 small puncture holes (each ranging from 5 to 12 millimeters in size). Large cut (frequently in excess of 10 centimeters, or 100 millimeters) associated with conventional surgery can be avoided.
Picture 2: One method of removing kidney cancer via laparoscopic technique (Retroperitoneal laparoscopic radical nephrectomy), which requires only 3 small puncture holes (each ranging from 5-12 millimeters in size). Large cut (frequently in excess of 10 centimeters, or 100 millimeters) associated with conventional surgery can be avoided.
Advantages of laparoscopic kidney surgery
The major advantage of laparoscopic kidney surgery is that your doctor can now perform the same surgeries that used to require large open incisions with just a few tiny incisions about the size of a dime. This reduces pain and scarring, and significantly reduces the length of your hospital stay and the time it takes for you to recover from surgery.
In addition, the laparoscope images are magnified when they appear on the monitor, allowing your doctor to see even greater tissue detail than would be available during traditional surgery.
Like all surgeries, the success of laparoscopic surgery is related to doctor's experience with the technique. With the wealth of experience in laparoscopic kidney surgery at the Stanford Cancer Center you can be assured that you will receive the reliable, quality care that is essential when you are facing cancer.
This minimally invasive surgery may not be an appropriate option to every patient. At Stanford, individualized evaluation and consultation will be provided to all patients interested in laparoscopic surgery.