The kidneys produce urine, which passes through tubes called ureters into your bladder, where it is stored and later exits the body. Cancers that develop in the lining near the junction of the kidney and ureter, called transitional cell cancers, are usually treated by a procedure called nephroureterectomy, which involves the removal of the diseased kidney, ureter and a small section of the bladder. Traditionally performed by an open approach, through a large incision, nephroureterectomy may now be performed in a minimally invasive manner using a robotic system, which is precisely guided by your doctor.
The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia with the help of robotic arms that have a better range of motion than the human hand. Your doctor sits at a control panel and guides the whole procedure. Three dimensional imaging instruments help your doctor better visualise the operative field and minimise damage to surrounding tissue. Three to five small incisions are made in your abdomen through which ports that carry thin instruments and a camera are introduced. The blood vessels that enter and exit the kidney are clipped and the kidney and ureter are freed from surrounding structures and removed through one of the incisions.
Robotic nephroureterectomy is performed faster than traditional open surgery with less pain, blood loss, smaller scars and shorter recovery time, allowing a quicker return to your regular activities.