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Robotic Kidney Surgery at Ascension Columbia St. Mary's

Robotic Kidney Surgery at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s

The use of robotics for certain kidney surgeries has proven to be advantageous for both surgeons and patients.

Robotic surgery allows surgeons to complete surgical procedures with a precision never before possible. The pencil-thin arms and tiny surgical instruments are capable of moving in a manner not available in traditional laparoscopy, giving surgeons the ability to view and work within the surgical field as never before.

Ascension Columbia St. Mary's was the first hospital da Vinci Surgical Systemin the region to utilize the da Vinci® system in 3D with high-definition. The three-dimensional, high-definition views virtually extend the surgeon’s hands and eyes into the surgical field, allowing unparalleled clarity and detail. In addition, the 3D, high-definition viewing capabilities of Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s da Vinci System give surgeons a greatly increased ability to clearly differentiate between diseased and non-diseased tissue.

Additional advantages of robotic surgery include:

  • Decreased blood loss during surgery
  • Shortened length of hospital stay
  • Decreased post-operative pain
  • Less scarring
  • Faster return to regular activities
  • Less risk of wound infection
Individual results may vary. Always ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of all available treatment options.

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Kidney Conditions and Treatments

The kidneys function to remove toxic by-products from our body through the production of urine. One of the most common kidney conditions affecting the kidneys is a blockage in the ureters, the tubes that transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The condition can produce kidney stones if untreated and can also lead to chronic pain and kidney damage.

Tumors, whether cancerous or benign, can also affect the kidneys. Tumors can form both in the small tubes inside the kidney that are used to filter blood, and in the center of the kidney where urine collects.

Non-cancerous kidney conditions that involve a blockage can usually be treated by removing it; depending on the type of blockage, surgery may be used. Kidney cancer, on the other hand, is relatively resistant to radiation and chemotherapy. As a result, the gold standard treatment for localized kidney cancer is removal of the kidney or kidney tumors.

Kidney surgery is traditionally performed using an open approach, but robotic surgery is now being used for the following conditions for those patients that are candidates.

  • Robotic partial nephrectomy: Robotic surgery to remove a kidney tumor while preserving the remaining kidney (also called renal-sparing surgery).
  • Robotic radical nephrectomy: Robotic surgery to remove the entire kidney for large tumors or disease.
  • Robotic Nephroureterectomy: Removal of the kidney and ureter for transitional cell carcinoma involving the kidney or ureter.
  • Robotic Pyeloplasty: Repair of the blockage in the area where the ureter attaches to the kidney.
  • Robotic Pyelolithotomy: Removal of large kidney stones that fail treatment by other methods.
  • Robotic Renal Cyst Decortication: Removal of kidney cysts that sometimes cause pain or high blood pressure.

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If your doctor recommends surgery for a kidney condition, you may be a candidate for a robotic surgery. Robotic surgery offers numerous potential benefits over a conventional surgery, including:

  • Significantly less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Fewer transfusions
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less scarring
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Increased potential for kidney preservation in certain prescribed cancer operations
  • Better clinical outcomes, in many cases

As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed for every patient. A discussion between you and your doctor will provide for the best procedure.

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Find a Robotic Surgeon for Kidney Surgery

Pedro Banda, MD, Urologist, Medical Director Robotic Surgery

Kevin Gee, MD, Urologist

Christopher Kearns, MD, Urologist

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will my insurance cover robotic surgery?
A: The majority of insurance companies pay for this surgery as they would conventional surgery, however there are exceptions. Please consult with your insurance carrier to confirm your coverage.

Q: After the surgery, when will I be able to resume normal activities?
A: Some of the major advantages of this surgery are decreased bleeding and decreased pain which results in a faster and easier recuperation time. Most individuals will be able to resume normal activities within a few days of surgery.

Q: How long can I expect to be off work after the procedure?
A: You should be able to resume normal activities in two weeks. However, this varies by patient and should be discussed with your physician.



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