Nephrectomy and Partial Nephrectomy for Kidney Cancer

Contact Information

Contact UW Carbone Cancer Center for appointment scheduling, patient referrals and more information: 

(608) 262-5223

(800) 622-8922


Our Doctors

Kidney Cancer Providers

The UW Prostate and Genitourinary Cancer Program (UWPGCP) and the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the state's only comprehensive cancer center, use a multidisciplinary approach to treat kidney cancer or renal cell cancer.

Nephrectomy for Kidney Cancer


Removal of the entire kidney (nephrectomy) is performed for very large tumors or for tumors which are too close to major blood vessels to safely perform partial nephrectomy.

  • Laparoscopic nephrectomy: A form of minimally-invasive surgery in which standard, open incision surgery is replaced with "keyhole" incision surgery. Through the small incisions, a surgeon can uses cameras and special instruments to complete the operation and remove the diseased kidney.
  • Hand-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy: The surgeon places his/her hand through the incision to assist in removal of the kidney.

The laparoscopic approach duplicates open surgery but shortens hospital stay and recovery, and decreases the pain a patient undergoes following the procedure.


The UW Health Urology team is committed to offering minimally-invasive surgery, including laparoscopic and robotic surgery, whenever it is safe and appropriate.


Partial Nephrectomy


Partial nephrectomy, or removal of only the part of the kidney containing the tumor, is considered the gold standard treatment for most small renal masses. Research has shown that, for small renal masses, partial nephrectomy offers equivalent cancer control as removing the entire kidney and helps preserve future kidney function.


For many patients, partial nephrectomy can be performed using the daVinci surgical robot or with conventional laparoscopy. Using these minimally-invasive options for partial nephrectomy allows the surgeon to perform the surgery through small incisions using a small camera and special instruments. For patients, minimally-invasive surgery means less pain and a shorter hospital stay after surgery.


Patients with small tumors that are not close to major blood vessels are ideal for partial nephrectomy. Your physician can determine whether partial nephrectomy is possible.