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What is the procedure for removing a kidney tumor?

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The procedure to remove a cancerous kidney tumor may include a radical nephrectomy to remove the whole kidney and surrounding structures or a partial nephrectomy to remove only the cancerous portion of the kidney, according to the American Cancer Society. The surgeon may complete either procedure with the help of a robot or laparoscope, a long instrument with a small camera at the end.

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To complete a radical nephrectomy, the surgeon makes an incision on the abdomen, the side or the back depending on the size and location of the kidney tumor, states the American Cancer Society. The surgeon then removes the kidney, the fatty tissue surrounding the kidney and the attached adrenal gland. If the tumor has grown from the renal vein, the medical team may need to stop the heart temporarily during the surgery, attaching the patient to a machine that circulates the blood while bypassing the heart.

A partial nephrectomy is a more popular option for patients with early-stage kidney cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. This operation may not be an option if the patient has a large tumor, a tumor in the middle of the kidney or more than one tumor in the kidney. This is a difficult procedure that only surgeons with ample experience should complete.

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