To view or print separate sheets for each surgical procedure, click here.

Guide for Nephrectomy and Partial Nephrectomy

Your plan for surgery will depend on your diagnosis and plan of care.  This information is meant to give broad information about this type of surgery.  Your specific plan will be individualized for you.

The size and location of your tumor will determine the type of surgery that is planned for you.

About the Surgery: 

Radical nephrectomy removes the entire kidney, sometimes including the adrenal gland and lymph nodes close to the kidney and fatty tissue around the kidney.  The adrenal gland is located on each kidney and produces hormones for  maintaining normal metabolism.  Lymph nodes are small bean shaped organs of the immune system linked by lymphatic vessels throughout the body.

Partial Nephrectomy

A partial nephrectomy removes only the part of the kidney affected by the tumor.  This may be done for smaller tumors, or for patients with kidney failure or problems with the opposite kidney. 

Diagnostic Test Prior to Surgery

You may have several of the following tests before surgery.

A physical exam, EKG, chest x-ray and blood tests will be done.  A CT scan (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or ultrasound may be done.

Anesthesia Evaluation

The anesthesia provider will review your medical history and discuss anesthesia with you.  It is important to discuss your current medications and over-the-counter medications and supplements.

Discharge Instructions

Discharge instructions will be provided which will include pain control, diet, wound care, resumption of medications, activity restrictions, and symptoms you should report to your surgeon.  It is important to know how to contact your surgeon.  An appointment will be scheduled with your surgeon for follow up after discharge.


Guide for Minimally Invasive Surgery: 

Laparoscopic or Robotic Nephrectomy

Your plan for surgery will depend on your diagnosis and plan of care.  This information is meant to give broad information about this type of surgery.  Your specific plan will be individualized for you.

The size and location of your tumor will determine the type of surgery that is planned for you.

About the Surgery: 

 Laparoscopic is a less invasive surgical technique.  It involves using a laparoscope, which is an instrument that is inserted through a series of small incisions or ports into the surgical area. This eliminates a large surgical incision.  It can be used for both radical and partial nephrectomies.

 Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy removes the entire kidney, and may include the adrenal gland and lymph nodes that are near the kidney.

Laparoscopic Partial Nephrectomy removes a part of your kidney—only the affected part of the kidney.

Hand-Assisted Laparoscopy   Hand-assisted techniques have been developed to eliminate some of the challenges of using laparoscopic instruments.  A short incision may be made in addition to the small incisions or ports, so that one hand can be inserted to assist the     laparoscopic procedure.

Robotic Nephrectomy is a surgery procedure using robotic arms.  The surgical instruments and 3-D cameras are inserted into the body similar to laparoscopic procedures, and the doctor sits at a special desk near the surgical bed that shows an enlarged 3-D view of the surgery.  The doctor can move the instrument’s handles from the desk, which moves the robotic arms.  The robotic arms follow the doctor’s exact movements.

Benefits of these types of surgery may be:

Decreased blood loss

Faster Recovery time

Shorter hospital stay

Less pain and discomfort

Smaller incisions and less scarring

Diagnostic Tests Prior to Surgery:

You may have several of the following tests before surgery.

A physical exam, EKG, chest x-ray, and blood tests will be done. A CT scan (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or ultrasound may be done.

Anesthesia Evaluation

The anesthesia provider will review your medical history and discuss anesthesia with you. It is important to discuss your current medications and over-the-counter medications and supplements.

Discharge Instructions

Discharge instructions will be provided which will include pain control, diet, wound care, resumption of medications, activity restrictions, and symptoms you should report to your surgeon. It is important to know how to contact your surgeon. An appointment will be scheduled with your surgeon for follow up after discharge.


Guide for Radiofrequency Ablation and Cryotherapy for Kidney Cancer

Your plan for surgery will depend on your diagnosis and plan of care.  This information is meant to give broad information about this type of surgery.  Your specific plan will be individualized for you.

The size and location of your tumor will determine the type of surgery that is planned for you.

About the Surgery:

 Radiofrequency Ablation and cryoablation are minimally invasive procedures that destroys or kills tumor cells without surgery or radiation.

Renal Ablation or Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) uses imaging procedures such as computed tomography (CT), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound, to guide the needle electrode into the tumor, and the electrical current or energy is passed through to heat and destroy diseased cancerous tissue.

Cryotherapy or cryoablation  is a freezing mechanism using liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide to destroy the diseased tissue.

Considerations for these treatment options are:

  • One kidney or poor kidney function
  • Medical conditions that might prevent surgery
  • Size and location of the tumor
  • Age and overall condition of the patient
  • Number of tumors in the kidney

Recovery for these procedures is generally much faster than surgery or a course of radiation therapy, with less pain, shorter hospital stay, and earlier return to work and daily activities.

Diagnostic Test Prior to Surgery:

You may have several of the following tests before surgery.

A physical exam, EKG, chest x-ray, and blood tests will be done.  A CT scan (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or ultrasound may done.

Anesthesia Evaluation

The anesthesia provider will review your medical history and discuss anesthesia with you.  It is important to discuss your current medications and over-the-counter medications and supplements.

 Interventional Radiology Physician Evaluation

  • Review of medications that you are taking, especially blood thinners or aspirin products, and your medical health issues.
  • Allergies
  • Any metal implants, pumps or pacemaker/defibrillators

Discharge Instructions

Discharge instructions will be provided which will include pain control, diet, wound care, resumption of medications, activity restrictions, and symptoms you should report to your surgeon.

It is important to know how to contact your surgeon.  An appointment will be scheduled with your surgeon for follow-up after discharge.

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