Surgical robot adopters used more for kidney cancer

16 December 2014

Hospitals that have robotic surgical resources are more likely to perform "nephron-sparing" partial nephrectomy, which is a recommended alternative to removing the entire kidney, a new study has found.

Published in the December issue of Medical Care, the research found that hospitals having a surgical robot was associated with a greater proportion of partial nephrectomy. 

Dr Ganesh Sivarajan, of New York University Langone Medical Center, who conducted the research said the study suggests an unexpected benefit of surgical robots. 

Until previous years, the standard treatment for kidney cancer was radical nephrectomy, which removes the entire kidney. However, partial nephrectomy to remove just the cancer and retains a large portion of the organ's function has become more popular in recent years.

Dr Sivarajan and colleagues examined whether acquisition of the surgical robot, which enables better magnification and manual dexterity, meant that surgeons were more likely to opt for a partial nephrectomy. 

They found that hospitals with surgical robots performed more partial nephrectomies. For hospitals that acquired a robot between 2001 and 2004, the number of partial nephrectomies increased by 30 per cent in 2005, and 35 per cent in 2008. 

Posted by Philip Briggs 


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