A kidney with a tumour weighing nearly 1kg — nearly 10 times the weight of the average kidney — was removed from a young Asian man in Dubai recently.
Doctors said the patient had likely had the tumour for nearly two years before it started showing any symptoms.
The diseased organ was removed through a keyhole surgery by cutting through deeply intertwined blood vessels the tumour had built around the kidney for its survival. The average kidney weighs between 120 and 140 grams. The 36-year-old male patient had arrived at NMC Speciality Hospital in Abu Dhabi with symptoms of blood in his urine accompanied by a burning sensation.
“We conducted a CT scan where this large tumour was discovered in his right kidney,” said Dr Mayank Mohan Agarwal, Urology Specialist at the hospital. “If the tumour had been smaller, we could have saved the kidney but it weighed more than 900gm compared to a normal kidney that weighs 150gm,” said the doctor.
Although a familiar procedure, known as a nephrectomy, which entails making a long incision in the upper part of the abdomen is known to be very effective, the doctors decided to offer the patient the alternatively less painful laparoscopy. “We made four to five ports through which a telescope was inserted to give us a better view. The kidney was removed through a tiny incision made in the lower abdomen in a three hour surgery,” said Dr Mayank.
The patient, who does not wish to be named, said that he had no idea that blood in the urine could indicate something so serious. “I thought it was a kidney stone but when the investigations were done, I was shocked … this is the first such case in our family.”
The patient, who was discharged from hospital three days after the surgery, is back to his routine job and is recovering well. The highly elaborate and minimally invasive procedure has the advantage of better visualisation during surgery, faster recovery period and lower chances of infection.
Laparoscopic surgeries require highly specialised surgical skills as well as a highly sophisticated set-up of fine surgical instruments, electronic devices for sealing blood vessels, high definition camera system for inner body visuals and a source of medical CO2 gas.
“Kidney cancer accounts for two to three per cent of all adult cancers and is the most lethal of the common urologic cancers,” said the doctor.
Secondly, kidney cancer cannot be cured by radiation therapy or chemotherapy hence comprehensive surgical excision remains the only effective mode of therapy.