The most profound change among the many that have occurred in the management of renal-cell carcinoma (RCC) in recent years is the advent of nephron-sparing surgery for masses <4 cm. The main challenge now is to reduce the morbidity associated with such procedures. Because of the problems in obtaining hemostasis, only a few highly experienced surgeons are performing partial nephrectomy laparoscopically. Numerous techniques and tools have been studied, including laparoscopic duplication of the open operation; hand-assisted surgery; double-loop and cable-tie tourniquets; ultrasonic shears; radiofrequency, microwave, and laser energy; the Endosnare; and hydro-jet dissection. Also, ablation with cold, radiofrequency energy, or high-intensity focused ultrasound is being explored. Just as open surgery for urolithiasis has been all but replaced by extracorporeal lithotripsy and endoscopic techniques, treatment of most RCCs will ultimately shift from open to minimally invasive methods.
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