Nephroureterectomy is a procedure done for treating urothelial cancers of the kidney and ureter. With nephroureterectomy the entire kidney and its attached ureter, which is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder, are removed. Nephroureterectomy can be done by open or laparoscopic surgery.
In laparoscopic nephroureterectomy, the surgeon makes several small (1 cm) incisions in the upper abdomen over the affected kidney. The surgeon then uses special instruments to carefully separate the kidney and upper portion of the ureter from surrounding structures and secure the blood vessels that supply the kidney. A small incision (6-7 cm) cosmetically placed just above the above the pubic bone is used to free the lower ureter and remove the kidney and ureter intact.
Compared to open surgery, laparoscopic nephroureterectomy shortens hospital stay, minimizes post-operative discomfort, is more cosmetic, and speeds return to normal activity. The cancer-cure rates of laparoscopic nephroureterectomy equal those of open surgery with considerably less discomfort and disability.