NYU Robotic Surgery Center Makes International News with Its Research on Robotic Partial Nephrectomy

August 1, 2011

Two recent NYU Langone studies on the effectiveness and safety of robotic partial nephrectomy have been featured in reports by the international news agency Reuters and related videos on Reuters Health/The Doctors Channel Daily Newscast. The earlier of the two studies, on which Dr. Michael Stifelman of NYU's Department of Urology was an author, compared the effectiveness of robotic surgery versus laparoscopic surgery in patients undergoing partial nephrectomy for kidney cancer. In this procedure, the kidney tumor is removed while the rest of the kidney is left intact and functioning. The study, published in the September 2009 issue of The Journal of Urology, found that robotic partial nephrectomy (RPN) is as effective as laparoscopy in treating the cancer, and also results in less blood loss and a shorter warm ischemia time—the length of time the kidney's artery has to be clamped off while the tumor is excised, which can affect the kidney's ability to function post-operatively. RPN was also associated with a shorter hospital stay than laparoscopic surgery.

Dr. Stifelman was also an author on a more recent study, published in the August 2011 issue of The Journal of Urology and also featured in Reuters Health, that affirmed the safety of robotic partial nephrectomy when performed by high-volume robotic surgery programs such as NYU's Robotic Surgery Center. The study, which analyzed the outcomes of 450 robotic surgery patients at four high-volume centers including NYU Langone, reported an overall complication rate of 15.8%. The most common complications were hemorrhage, which occurred in 2 patients during surgery (0.2%) and 22 patients after surgery (4.9%), and urine leakage, which affected seven patients (1.6%). Most of the complications were minor and were managed without any need for an invasive procedure.

"These findings are important confirmation of robotic partial nephrectomy's safety and effectiveness, and it's gratifying to have them reported by influential organizations such as Reuters and The Doctor's Channel," said Dr. Stifelman. "At the NYU Robotic Surgery Center, we're committed not only to pioneering new robotic procedures, but also to participating in research designed to validate and refine these procedures."

NYU Langone's Urology Department made still more international news recently when its robotic surgeons performed the world's first robotic partial nephrectomy utilizing fluorescence imaging—a new near-infra red guidance system that results in a greatly enhanced visual field, allowing finer assessment of the surgical field and more precise operations. This new technology is now available as a feature on the da Vinci Si, the world's most advanced surgical robot, which is used in all robotic procedures at the NYU Robotic Surgery Center.