Purpose: We evaluate whether partial nephrectomy can be performed safely and efficaciously for renal tumors. Materials and Methods: The results of 67 partial nephrectomies performed between 1977 and 1994 for renal cell carcinoma (51), oncocytoma (9), angiomyolipoma (3), transitional cell carcinoma (3) and other nonneoplastic lesions (2) were analyzed retrospectively in detail. Results: Diminished complication rates were noted after 1988, and were attributed to improvements in surgical technique and an increased incidence of smaller, serendipitously discovered tumors. Although 35.5 percent of the patients had preoperative renal impairment (mean serum creatinine 2.1 mg./dl.), there were minimal changes in renal function and no patient required acute hemodialysis following partial nephrectomy. Among 42 patients with clinical stage T1 to T2 renal cell carcinoma undergoing partial nephrectomy local recurrence was identified in 8.3 percent of those with primary neoplasms. All 6 patients with local recurrence had negative surgical margins, recurrence often distant from the operative site and multifocal disease, implicating multicentricity as the etiology of local recurrence. Five patients (83.3 percent) with local recurrence were alive and asymptomatic at a mean of 138 months after partial nephrectomy. Since capsular penetration was identified in 5 of 27 renal cell carcinomas (18.5 percent) with a diameter of 3.5 cm. or less, aggressive surgical resection with adequate tumor-free parenchymal and perinephric margins is necessary even for small lesions. Conclusions: With improved surgical techniques, including regional hypothermia, intraoperative sonography, meticulous dissection and injection of the collecting system with methylene blue, partial nephrectomy is safe and effective in properly selected patients.
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