Laparoscopic nephrectomy external view
Open nephrectomy incision
Laparoscopic nephrectomy incision
Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy
Useful links on Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy
Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy for a patient with a large right kidney cancer by Dr Ho Siew Hong
Updated 21 Nov 09
National Cancer Institute
American Cancer Society
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Three or four 1-cm incisions
in laparoscopic nephrectomy
A long surgical incision in
open nephrectomy
Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy mimicks all the steps of open surgery. The entire surgery is performed via three or four small 1-cm incisions. The kidney containing cancer is safely detached from the patient and placed in a surgical plastic bag before being removed via a small incision, just large enough for the kidney. Hence, a large surgical incision is avoided. Bleeding is also much less than open surgery as laparoscopy allows precision dissection and control of the blood vessels
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Kidney cancer is not an uncommon urology condition. Early kidney cancer is potentially curable by total removal of the affected kidney. A person can live and function normally with a single good kidney. Surgery to remove a kidney with cancer is called radical nephrectomy.

Traditionally, radical nephrectomy surgery has been done via an open surgical incision. This has resulted in significant pain and slow recovery. A patient may take up to 2 months to fully recover from open radical nephrectomy. Laparoscopic or key-hole radical nephrectomy has replaced open surgery as the surgery of choice for early and smaller kidney cancer. It has proven to give similar results in terms of long term urology oncology control and cure as open surgery without the associated pain. Recovery from surgery is much quicker with hospital stay of only 3 days and return to work can be as early as 3 weeks. The patient can start taking food and ambulating within 2 days after surgery.

Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy is highly effective for kidney cancer as large as 10 cm in diameter. Smaller kidney cancer such as 2-3 cm, can also be treated by laparoscopic partial nephrectomy.