Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy

Radical nephrectomy is a treatment for suspected cancer, where the whole of your kidney is removed, including the surrounding fatty tissue, lymph nodes, and sometimes the adrenal gland and upper end of your ureter (tube carrying urine from the kidney to the bladder). These are all taken out in order to increase the likelihood to remove all the cancer cells. Laparoscopic surgery is also known as keyhole surgery. A laparoscopic radical nephrectomy is carried out using several small cuts or incisions (also referred to as key holes or port holes) rather than one large incision.

Why should I undergo a laparoscopic radical nephrectomy?

A laparoscopic radical nephrectomy is the most common type of surgery performed in the treatment of kidney cancer that has not spread beyond the kidney. The surgery can be still carried out if the cancer has spread to other organs.

What are the advantages of laparoscopic surgery?

  • Less blood loss : In the keyhole operation, blood loss is typically 200-500mls (a cup or mug full), while in an open nephrectomy it can be more than 1,000mls. Hence, there is less risk in requirement of a blood transfusion with laparoscopic surgery.
  • Less pain after the operation : As there is no large abdominal wound, patients rarely need strong painkillers after the laparoscopic surgery and can return to normal activities and can begin with their work sooner compared to open surgery.
  • A shorter stay in hospital : Most patients go home in one to two nights after laparoscopic surgery, compared to an average of five to seven nights for open surgery.
  • Smaller scars: The laparoscopic operation avoids the large scar from open surgery, although the smaller scars from the ports will be seen.