On Thursday, February 5, 2009, surgeons at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center removed a patient’s diseased kidney through one incision hidden in the belly button. No other incisions were used. This groundbreaking procedure is the 15th in a series of single-incision clinical trial surgeries performed by the UC San Diego Center for the Future of Surgery.
“The successful removal of a kidney containing a seven centimeter tumor, with a single incision, is a pivotal advancement in cancer care,” said Ithaar H. Derweesh, MD, associate professor of surgery for the Division of Urology and urologic oncologist at UC San Diego Medical Center and Moores UCSD Cancer Center. “This less invasive approach offers patients a shorter recovery time, less need for pain medication, and an improved cosmetic outcome.”
During a traditional laparoscopic surgery, three to five small abdominal incisions would be made to insert a camera and instruments to remove the kidney. This novel surgery required one incision in the navel.
“The idea of being able to perform a surgery with fewer incisions and requiring a shorter hospital stay is particularly attractive to cancer patients who may face repeated surgeries,” said Santiago Horgan, MD, professor of surgery, and Director of the Center for the Future of Surgery at UC San Diego. “We are currently testing these scarless procedures for the treatment of cancer, obesity and other digestive disorders.”
According to the American Cancer Society, kidney cancer is an expanding cancer, increasing at a rate of two to three percent each year and affecting approximately 55,000 patients in the United States. Risk factors for developing kidney cancer include smoking, obesity and hypertension.
“Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in men and women,” said Derweesh, an expert in kidney-preserving surgeries and a member of the American Urological Association’s Guideline Committee for the treatment of kidney tumors. “The combination of kidney cancers being diagnosed at earlier stages and smaller sizes, and the ability perform less invasive surgeries, presents a new horizon of care for these patients.”
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