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robotic kidney surgery

This video will help give you an overview of what’s involved in robot-assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy—daVinci surgery for kidney cancer.

Robotic Partial Nephrectomy (Removal of Kidney Tumor)

About the Procedure

In a number of cases, kidney cancer can be removed without having to remove the entire kidney. This can be done in a minimally invasive fashion during a robot-assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy, which helps avoid a large incision, a long hospital stay, long recovery time, and offers more cosmetically appealing results. Additionally, the use of the robotic surgery platform allows your doctor to remove the tumor more quickly, exposing you and your kidneys to less stress and potential damage. This is accomplished through 3 to 5 dime-sized incisions in the abdomen. The 6 to 7 centimeter incision used during a laparoscopic nephrectomy does not usually need to be made, since there is no need to remove the entire kidney. The procedure usually takes about 2 to 3 hours and you should expect to spend at least 1 night in the hospital.

Read what patients are saying about their robotic kidney surgery

Pre-Op

Take only clear liquids on the day prior to the procedure. Acceptable liquids include tea or coffee (no milk or cream), water, apple juice, Gatorade or other sports drinks, popsicles, italian ice, or chicken broth.

Drink five ounces of citrate of magnesium at 4:00 pm the day before the procedure. If this does not produce a bowel movement by 7:00 pm take an additional 2 ounces of citrate of magnesium. This is available over the counter in the laxative section of your pharmacy. Remember to drink plenty of clear liquids to stay hydrated while preparing for your procedure.

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure. You should take your usual medications as you normally would the morning of your procedure with a small sip of water only (avoid juice, milk, coffee, etc.).

Starting at least 7 days prior to your procedure, it is important to stop taking medications that might increase your risk of bleeding. For a list of blood-thinning medications that should be avoided, click here or ask you doctor. Stopping certain medications may require the approval of your primary care doctor or cardiologist.

Post-Op

There will be dressings on the incisions that can be removed on the second day after the procedure. After that, it is OK to shower (let soap and water run over the incision, then pat dry), but baths and soaking in a tub should be avoided for 2 weeks after the procedure. The incisions should be kept clean and dry to allow them to heal, so it is important to shower once a day. The incisions generally heal in five to seven days, but avoid any strenuous activity and exercise or heavy lifting for 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. Your doctor will remove the surgical staples in your incisions at your first office visit following your discharge from the hospital. This is not painful and only takes a few minutes.

It is usually OK to resume your blood-thinning medication the day after your procedure, but check with your doctor to be sure. Take all the medications prescribed by your doctor (including any antibiotics and pain medications), and schedule an appointment to follow up with him within the first 2 weeks after the procedure (ask your doctor if you are unsure when to follow up).

Make arrangements for someone to drive you home on the day of your discharge from the hospital.

Follow-Up

Kidney cancer requires a lifetime commitment to follow up care. Further visits will include physical exams, regular blood tests to monitor kidney function, and periodic imaging studies to monitor for a recurrence of the cancer. The schedule for these visits will be outlined at the time of your first post-operative visit, but may change as your needs change.

Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Nephrectomy (Removal of the Entire Kidney)

About the Procedure

The kidneys are paired organs behind the abdomen that filter blood and create urine. Robot-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy is the minimally invasive removal of a kidney, usually as a result of a tumor or because the kidney no longer functions. This helps avoid a large incision, a long hospital stay, long recovery time, and offers more cosmetically appealing results. Additionally, the use of the robotic surgery platform allows your doctor to remove the kidney more quickly, exposing you and your kidneys to less stress and potential damage. The procedure is done through 3 to 4 dime-sized incisions in the abdomen, and a separate 6 to 7 centimeter incision is made to remove the kidney itself. The procedure usually takes about 2 to 3 hours and you should expect to spend at least 1 night in the hospital.

Pre-Op

Take only clear liquids on the day prior to the procedure. Acceptable liquids include tea or coffee (no milk or cream), water, apple juice, Gatorade or other sports drinks, popsicles, italian ice, or chicken broth.

Drink five ounces of citrate of magnesium at 4:00 pm the day before the procedure. If this does not produce a bowel movement by 7:00 pm take an additional 2 ounces of citrate of magnesium. This is available over the counter in the laxative section of your pharmacy. Remember to drink plenty of clear liquids to stay hydrated while preparing for your procedure.

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure. You should take your usual medications as you normally would the morning of your procedure with a small sip of water only (avoid juice, milk, coffee, etc.).

Starting at least 7 days prior to your procedure (ask your doctor for a specific time), it is important to stop taking medications that might increase your risk of bleeding. For a list of blood-thinning medications that should be avoided, click here or ask you doctor.

Post-Op

There will be dressings on the incisions that can be removed on the second day after the procedure. After that, it is OK to shower (let soap and water run over the incision, then pat dry), but baths and soaking in a tub should be avoided for 2 weeks after the procedure. The incisions should be kept clean and dry to allow them to heal, so it is important to shower once a day. The incisions generally heal in five to seven days, but avoid any strenuous activity and exercise or heavy lifting for 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. Your doctor will remove the surgical staples in your incisions at your first office visit following your discharge from the hospital. This is not painful and only takes a few minutes.

It is usually OK to resume your blood-thinning medications the day after your procedure, but check with your doctor to be sure. Take all the medications prescribed by your doctor (including any antibiotics and pain medications), and schedule an appointment to follow up with him within the first 2 weeks after the procedure (ask your doctor if you are unsure when to follow up).

Make arrangements for someone to drive you home on the day of your discharge from the hospital.

Follow-up

Kidney cancer requires a lifetime commitment to follow up care. Further visits will include physical exams, regular blood tests to monitor kidney function, and periodic imaging studies to monitor for a recurrence of the cancer. The schedule for these visits will be outlined at the time of your first post-operative visit, but may change as your needs change.

Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Pyeloplasty or Ureteropelvic Junction (UPJ) Obstruction Repair (Repair of Kidney Blockage)

About the Procedure

If the junction between the kidney and its drainage tube, the ureter, has a narrowing causing the flow of urine to be obstructed, this can sometimes be repaired in a minimally invasive fashion. Done laparoscopically, UPJ obstruction repair helps avoid a large incision, a long hospital stay, long recovery time, and offers more cosmetically appealing results. Additionally, the use of the robotic surgery platform allows your doctor to perform the procedure more quickly, exposing you and your kidneys to less stress and potential damage. This is accomplished through 3 to 5 dime-sized incisions in the abdomen. The procedure usually takes about 2 to 3 hours and you should expect to spend at least 1 night in the hospital. After the procedure, your doctor may leave a stent, or plastic drainage tube, in your body to help the repair heal. This will need to be removed by your doctor at a later date, so you must remember to follow up when you are scheduled to do so.

Preparing for the Procedure

Take only clear liquids on the day prior to the procedure. Acceptable liquids include tea or coffee (no milk or cream), water, apple juice, Gatorade or other sports drinks, popsicles, italian ice, or chicken broth.

Drink five ounces of citrate of magnesium at 4:00 pm the day before the procedure. If this does not produce a bowel movement by 7:00 pm take an additional 2 ounces of citrate of magnesium. This is available over the counter in the laxative section of your pharmacy. Remember to drink plenty of clear liquids to stay hydrated while preparing for your procedure.

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure. You should take your usual medications as you normally would the morning of your procedure with a small sip of water only (avoid juice, milk, coffee, etc.).

Starting at least 7 days prior to your procedure (ask your doctor for a specific time), it is important to stop taking medications that might increase your risk of bleeding. For a list of blood-thinning medications that should be avoided, click here or ask you doctor.

After the Procedure

There will be dressings on the incisions that can be removed on the second day after the procedure. After that, it is OK to shower (let soap and water run over the incision, then pat dry), but baths and soaking in a tub should be avoided for 2 weeks after the procedure. The incisions should be kept clean and dry to allow them to heal, so it is important to shower once a day. The incisions generally heal in five to seven days, but avoid any strenuous activity and exercise or heavy lifting for 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. Your doctor will remove the surgical staples in your incisions at your first office visit following your discharge from the hospital. This is not painful and only takes a few minutes.

It is usually OK to resume your blood-thinning medications the day after your procedure, but check with your doctor to be sure. Take all the medications prescribed by your doctor (including any antibiotics and pain medications), and schedule an appointment to follow up with him within the first 2 weeks after the procedure (ask your doctor if you are unsure when to follow up).

Make arrangements for someone to drive you home on the day of your discharge from the hospital.

Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Retroperitoneal or Pelvic Lymph Node Removal

About the Procedure

In some men with testicular or prostate cancer, the lymph nodes in the abdomen or pelvis may need to be removed. This can be done in a minimally invasive fashion during a laparoscopic retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, which helps avoid a large incision, a long hospital stay, long recovery time, and offers more cosmetically appealing results. Additionally, the use of the robotic surgery platform allows your doctor to perform the procedure more quickly, exposing you and your kidneys to less stress and potential damage. This is usually done through 4 to 5 dime-sized incisions on the abdomen. The procedure usually takes about 1 to 2 hours and you should expect to spend at least 1 night in the hospital.

Preparing for the Procedure

Take only clear liquids on the day prior to the procedure. Acceptable liquids include tea or coffee (no milk or cream), water, apple juice, Gatorade or other sports drinks, popsicles, italian ice, or chicken broth.

Drink five ounces of citrate of magnesium at 4:00 pm the day before the procedure. If this does not produce a bowel movement by 7:00 pm take an additional 2 ounces of citrate of magnesium. This is available over the counter in the laxative section of your pharmacy. Remember to drink plenty of clear liquids to stay hydrated while preparing for your procedure.

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure. You should take your usual medications as you normally would the morning of your procedure with a small sip of water only (avoid juice, milk, coffee, etc.).

Starting at least 7 days prior to your procedure (ask your doctor for a specific time), it is important to stop taking medications that might increase your risk of bleeding. For a list of blood-thinning medications that should be avoided, click here or ask you doctor.

After the Procedure

There will be dressings on the incisions that can be removed on the second day after the procedure. After that, it is OK to shower (let soap and water run over the incision, then pat dry), but baths and soaking in a tub should be avoided for 2 weeks after the procedure. The incisions should be kept clean and dry to allow them to heal, so it is important to shower once a day. The incisions generally heal in five to seven days, but avoid any strenuous activity and exercise or heavy lifting for 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. Your doctor will remove the surgical staples in your incisions at your first office visit following your discharge from the hospital. This is not painful and only takes a few minutes.

It is usually OK to resume your blood-thinning medications the day after your procedure, but check with your doctor to be sure. Take all the medications prescribed by your doctor (including any antibiotics and pain medications), and schedule an appointment to follow up with him within the first 2 weeks after the procedure (ask your doctor if you are unsure when to follow up).

Make arrangements for someone to drive you home on the day of your discharge from the hospital.

Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Radical Nephro-Ureterectomy (Removal of Kidney and Ureter)

About the Procedure

In a some cases, certain types of kidney cancer that arise from the lining of the renal pelvis and/or ureter need to be treated with removal of the entire kidney and ureter, all the way down to the bladder. This can be done in a minimally invasive fashion during a robot-assisted laparoscopic radical nephroureterectomy, which helps avoid a large incision, a long hospital stay, long recovery time, and offers more cosmetically appealing results. Additionally, the use of the robotic surgery platform allows your doctor to complete the procedure more quickly, exposing you and your kidneys to less stress and potential damage. This procedure is accomplished through 3 to 5 dime-sized incisions in the abdomen. A larger incision is often required to remove the kidney and ureter at the end of the surgery, but this can be hidden below the belt-line to maximize the cosmetic results. The procedure usually takes about 2 to 3 hours and you should expect to spend at least 1 night in the hospital.

Read what patients are saying about their robotic kidney surgery

Pre-Op

Take only clear liquids on the day prior to the procedure. Acceptable liquids include tea or coffee (no milk or cream), water, apple juice, Gatorade or other sports drinks, popsicles, italian ice, or chicken broth.

Drink five ounces of citrate of magnesium at 4:00 pm the day before the procedure. If this does not produce a bowel movement by 7:00 pm take an additional 2 ounces of citrate of magnesium. This is available over the counter in the laxative section of your pharmacy. Remember to drink plenty of clear liquids to stay hydrated while preparing for your procedure.

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure. You should take your usual medications as you normally would the morning of your procedure with a small sip of water only (avoid juice, milk, coffee, etc.).

Starting at least 7 days prior to your procedure, it is important to stop taking medications that might increase your risk of bleeding. For a list of blood-thinning medications that should be avoided, click here or ask you doctor. Stopping certain medications may require the approval of your primary care doctor or cardiologist.

Post-Op

There will be dressings on the incisions that can be removed on the second day after the procedure. After that, it is OK to shower (let soap and water run over the incision, then pat dry), but baths and soaking in a tub should be avoided for 2 weeks after the procedure. The incisions should be kept clean and dry to allow them to heal, so it is important to shower once a day. The incisions generally heal in five to seven days, but avoid any strenuous activity and exercise or heavy lifting for 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. Your doctor will remove the surgical staples in your incisions at your first office visit following your discharge from the hospital. This is not painful and only takes a few minutes.

You will leave the hospital with a catheter in your bladder which will also be removed at your first post-operative office visit. Don’t worry—the catheter is not painful, it’s not difficult to manage, and you will be taught how to care for it by the nursing staff prior to your discharge from the hospital.

It is usually OK to resume your blood-thinning medication the day after your procedure, but check with your doctor to be sure. Take all the medications prescribed by your doctor (including any antibiotics and pain medications), and schedule an appointment to follow up with him within the first 2 weeks after the procedure (ask your doctor if you are unsure when to follow up).

Make arrangements for someone to drive you home on the day of your discharge from the hospital.

Follow-Up

Kidney cancer requires a lifetime commitment to follow up care. Further visits will include physical exams, regular blood tests to monitor kidney function, and periodic imaging studies to monitor for a recurrence of the cancer. The schedule for these visits will be outlined at the time of your first post-operative visit, but may change as your needs change.