With the recent health of Roy Williams and the removal of several tumors from his kidneys, partial nephrectomy (removal of kidney cancer without removing the entire kidney) has become a hot topic in urology.

In recent news, researchers from Medstar Georgetown University Hospital used Medicare data to examine outcomes of 1600 patients diagnosed with small renal tumors between 2005 and 2007.  Areas examined included costs and outcomes.

There results showed that minimally-invasive treatment modalities (ie. robotics) allowed for decreased intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and overall complications.

Furthermore, those tumors treated with partial nephrectomy resulted in lower costs and decreased mortality.  These decreases were attributed to improved kidney function having more than 1 remaining kidney, with resultant improved overall health.

In my practice, I believe partial nephrectomy is the first, and best, option for tumors.  However, each patient is different and needs a complete evaluation to determine in this is appropriate.