Open partial nephrectomy: ancient art or currently available technique?

Mauro Seveso, Fabio Grizzi, Giorgio Bozzini, Alberto Mandressi, Giorgio Guazzoni, Gianluigi Taverna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for 3 % of adult solid tumors, with the highest incidence between 50 and 70 years of age. Nephron-sparing surgery was initially reserved to patients with small renal masses detected in anatomically or functionally solitary kidney or in the presence of multiple bilateral tumors or hereditary forms of RCC, which posed a high risk of developing a tumor in the contralateral kidney. Nowadays, partial nephrectomy (PN) has grown up to an established approach for the treatment of small renal masses. In patients with T1a-staged RCCs, PN has proven to be associated with better survival, long-term renal function preservation with lower dialysis need or renal transplantation. Currently, most of the kidney masses are incidentally detected, up to 40 %, with smaller size due to the widespread use of imaging modalities such as ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance. Here we review the role of open PN in the management of small renal masses particularly focusing on indications, oncological outcomes and comparison with laparoscopic and robotic PN. Recent studies demonstrate that PN confers better survival, oncologic equivalence and lower risk of severe chronic kidney disease compared to radical nephrectomy becoming then the gold-standard surgical technique, even if increasingly challenged by laparoscopic and/or robot-assisted partial nephrectomy which in the hands of experts seems to achieve comparable outcome results albeit with slightly higher complication rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1923-1932
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Urology and Nephrology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Laparoscopy
  • Partial nephrectomy
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Urology


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