City of Hope surgeons recently removed a patient’s kidney through only one small cut in the skin — the first robotic single-incision nephrectomy on the West Coast.
|Clayton Lau, right, during a recent minimally invasive robotic surgery (Photo by Alicia Di Rado)|
Urologic surgeon Clayton Lau, M.D., clinical assistant professor of surgery, and surgical fellow Vernon Orton, M.D., used the da Vinci S HD Surgical System to remove the cancerous kidney on July 31. The patient was able to return home only three days later, and only had to use narcotic pain relievers for one day.
“Usually in nephrectomy using robotic, minimally invasive surgery, we make four to six holes and an incision to take out the kidney,” Lau said. “Now, we only have to make one small, 2-to-2½-inch incision. That means less trauma to the body and better cosmesis [skin appearance after surgery] — and possibly less pain.”
The surgical team took less than 2½ hours to perform the procedure, he said, about as long as today’s typical robotic nephrectomy.
Nearly 57,800 people in the United States this year will learn they have kidney cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Surgery is the main initial treatment option.
Traditional open surgeries require an incision that can be as large as a foot long, and surgeons may have to remove a rib or penetrate muscle, requiring a long recovery. At City of Hope, surgeons perform most kidney cancer surgeries using the da Vinci robot to operate with tiny, precise instruments through small punctures and incisions in the skin; now the single-incision robotic procedure takes that technology a step further.
“Single-incision robotic surgery is still in its infancy,” Lau said. “However, in the future, robotics will probably use multiple arms to go through one port. I anticipate we will be able to use this technique for most partial and radical nephrectomies.”