Drs. Ketan Badani and Jaime Landman, who make up the robotic kidney surgery team, are using the latest latest-generation da Vinci S Surgical System by Intuitive Surgical for their clinical research.
They say that the system allows them to operate through several small incisions in the abdomen.
The surgeons say that they remove only the cancerous tissue from the kidney, and repair the remaining normal kidney tissue, all using robotic arms guided by video taken by a camera controlled by a separate robotic arm.
The stereoscopic view provides enhanced visibility, and the nimble robotic mechanism makes for easy cutting and suturing, they add.
"With robotics, there is a much greater opportunity for complex reconstruction of the kidney than can typically be achieved with a standard laparoscopic approach," says Dr. Badani, director of robotic urologic surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and assistant professor of urology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
"This means that, hopefully, we will have an opportunity not only to reduce the need for kidney cancer patients to require a kidney transplant, but also reduce their need for dialysis later in life," adds Dr. Landman, director of minimally invasive urologic surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and associate professor of urology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
A research article in the Journal of Endourology says that the approach has been successful in more than 50 cases, and adopted for use by medical centres worldwide.
Robotic surgery, most widely used for prostate cancer surgery, is beginning to be more widely available for other conditions.
Besides kidney cancer, Dr. Badani and Dr. Mitchell Benson have established robotic surgery for bladder cancer, and they cite work being undertaken in pelvic floor reconstruction and repair of vaginal wall prolapse.