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Complex Tumor Removal and Kidney Reconstruction Performed with One Incision—California First 

 

April 08, 2009 

With a single incision hidden in the navel, surgeons at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center have successfully removed a cancerous kidney tumor while saving the patient’s kidney. The surgical team extracted the tumor through the 3.5 centimeter port then completed the complex task of preserving and reconstructing the kidney. UC San Diego Medical Center is the second hospital in the world to perform this procedure.

“This highly-involved, minimally invasive surgery allowed us to save more than 90 percent of the patient’s kidney,” said Ithaar H. Derweesh, MD, lead surgeon and associate professor of surgery in the Division of Urology at UC San Diego Medical Center and Moores UCSD Cancer Center. “Through a small incision, we passed specialized instruments that allowed us to remove the entire tumor while preserving the healthy portion of the kidney through a delicate reconstruction.”

“The first doctor I saw said the surgery would require a long incision, a two week hospital stay, and that I would be out of work for more than six months,” said Emilio Camacho, 55, a warehouse supervisor for PepsiCo Inc. “With this procedure I will be in the hospital for a few days and recuperating for six weeks. That’s a huge difference. I am grateful that UCSD Medical Center allows its doctors to break new barriers in medicine.”

Derweesh and Camacho

Ithaar Derweesh, MD (left) is dedicated to developing new minimally invasive cancer surgeries that preserve the function of the kidney

“This clinical trial surgery is the next step in developing safe, effective, and less-invasive surgical procedures that truly benefit kidney cancer patients,” said Christopher Kane, MD, FACS, chief of urology at UC San Diego Medical Center. “As we advance and perfect this type of surgery, we maintain a commitment to preserving kidney function to the greatest extent possible. This procedure may be a new option for many of the 50,000 patients who are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year.”

According to the American Cancer Society, kidney cancer is increasing at a rate of two to three percent each year in the United States. Risk factors for developing kidney cancer include smoking, obesity and hypertension.

“Emerging data from UC San Diego Medical Center shows that, for kidney cancer patients, a combination of tumor removal and organ preservation is a better option than total kidney removal for preventing chronic kidney disease,” said Derweesh, urologic oncologist and a member of the American Urological Association’s Guideline Committee for the treatment of kidney tumors. “We also observe that patients are less likely to face complications such as osteoporosis or anemia or a need for dialysis.”

Established in 1965, the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego Medical Center represents more than 80 leading surgeons with specialties in open, minimally invasive, and scarless surgery techniques. The Department is committed to advancing surgical education by teaching and training the next generation of innovators; researching, testing and developing groundbreaking surgical techniques; providing superior patient care and service; and attracting a world-class faculty.

Every year surgeons at UC San Diego Medical Center and Moores UCSD Cancer Center are recognized locally as San Diego’s Top Doctors and nationally as the physician-scientists who are developing emerging surgical techniques.

The Moores UCSD Cancer Center is one of the nation’s 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, combining research, clinical care and community outreach to advance the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer.

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Media Contact: Jackie Carr, 619-543-6163, jcarr@ucsd.edu

Related Specialties

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Urology

Moores UCSD Cancer Center

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