Sanjeev K. Gupta, M.D.
Board Certified Urology
Adult and Pediatric Urological Care
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Laparoscopic Surgery

Minimally invasive kidney surgery using laparoscopic techniques is now available for certain kidney conditions, including kidney cancer. This type of surgery does not require large incisions and long hospital stays. Instead, doctors perform the surgery through small incisions in the abdomen. Depending on what your condition is, laparoscopic kidney surgery may be a treatment option.

Not all patients are good candidates for this type of procedure, however. Those patients with non-cancerous kidney disease, such as kidney stones or obstructions of the organ, can benefit from laparoscopic surgery. Also, patients with localized tumors that are less than 15 centimeters in size can have the procedure. Large tumors may not be able to be removed via laparoscopic surgery. Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you.

The Process of Laparoscopic Kidney Surgery

The surgery begins with several small incisions in the patientÂ’s abdomen. The number of incisions will be based on the number of areas where surgery is needed. The incisions are generally less than 12 millimeters in size. Once the incisions are made, the doctor will insert a light and a tiny camera to view the kidney. This instrument is known as a laparoscope.

The images from the laparoscope are displayed on a monitor in the operating room. These images guide the doctor as the rest of the surgery is performed. Tiny cutting and tissue retrieval instruments can be inserted through the incision sites to perform the surgery. Small tumors and portions of kidney tissue can be removed with this surgery. Sometimes the entire organ can be removed laparoscopically, but only when preservation of the organ is not necessary.

Laparoscopic Surgery Lessens Recovery Time

Laparoscopic surgery techniques are highly beneficial to the patient. The biggest benefit is the lessened recovery time. Traditional kidney surgery using a large incision requires up to six weeks of recovering time, with five days in the hospital. Patients who undergo laparoscopic surgery for their kidney disease face up to three weeks of recovery time with a three-day hospital stay on average. Many patients return to normal activities in one or two weeks. Patients who undergo laparoscopic surgery also face less pain and blood loss than those who undergo traditional surgery. Because of these benefits, we choose laparoscopic surgery over traditional surgery whenever possible for our patients.