Surgical removal of the kidney. If performed for kidney cancer, the kidney is removed within its surrounding tissues, which may or may not include the adjacent adrenal gland. Nephrectomy is now usually performed via a ‘key-hole’ or laparoscopic approach, allowing for a partial nephrectomy where the tumour is removed to allow the kidney to remain in place.
The technical demands of partial nephrectomy have meant that few cases were suitable for a minimally invasive approach and it remains true in the UK that most of these operations are performed through a large wound at open surgery. The Da Vinci Robotic System has changed all that and meant that most tumours are amenable to be being removed this way, meaning quality cancer surgery associated with a hospital stay of 1 or 2 nights and a return to normal activity, including work, in 1 to 2 weeks.
Neil Barber was key in introducing the use of the Da Vinci robot and has performed the largest number of robotic assisted kidney procedures in the UK, including partial nephrectomy.