Partial nephrectomy is performed for small renal masses which
are suspicious for cancer, and involves removing just the tumour from the kidney, preserving the
As the kidneys have a very good blood supply, this surgery needs to be performed precisely using a technique that avoids heavy bleeding, and also the leak of urine from the depths from which the tumour has been removed from the kidney.
The preservation of kidney function is the major advantage of this kidney-saving medical
procedure. Looking at the long term, keeping the kidney is better than taking out the entire
organ. When the kidney still has enough healthy tissues, it can maintain its function
of filtering and removing waste products from the blood.
On top of that, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Network revealed that patients who underwent partial nephrectomy live longer compared to individuals who had their kidney removed completely.
When determining a candidate for this kidney-saving surgical procedure, the doctor first checks the
condition of the tumour. Partial nephrectomy may not be a good option if the size of the tumour is too
large or the location of the mass makes the surgical procedure impossible to perform.
Partial nephrectomy, however, may be ideal if the patient falls under any of these categories:
The surgery involves the following steps:
Image Credit: Dr Pradeep Durai
Temporarily clamping kidney artery to stop blood flow to the kidney
Complete removal of the tumour
Closing defects in the urine collection system and bleeding vessels
Complete closure of the defect left in the kidney, followed by release of the clamp on the kidney aartery and checking that there is no bleeding
Partial nephrectomy can be done through open, laparoscopic or robotic assisted approaches. Robotic surgery allows this complex operation to be performed through keyhole surgery. With the magnified vision and dexterity of robotic instruments, larger and deeper tumours that previously would not have been possible to remove without sacrificing the kidney, can now be done in a minimally invasive manner. This not only preserves kidneys which would have been previously sacrificed, but minimises the postoperative complications and discomfort that come from an open approach.
If you’re scheduled to undergo partial nephrectomy, you can prepare for this surgical procedure by:
Here are a few ways you can care for yourself while recovering from home:
Tan Urology provides partial nephrectomy treatment to take out the kidney tumour while preserving
the organ. We perform this procedure using robotic-assisted technology, making the surgery as
minimally invasive as possible.
With robotic-assisted surgery, we’re able to reduce post-operative plan and blood loss for our patients.
Dr Robert Tan is a practicing consultant urologist with over 35 years of experience. He graduated from the medical school at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and has cared for thousands of patients over the decades.View Profile
Dr Lincoln Tan is a consultant urologist and accredited robotic surgeon. Dr Tan is trained in all aspects of open and endoscopic urology and specialises in the minimally invasive treatment of urologic cancers.View Profile