About the kidney


The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. Our kidneys purify around 1500 litre of blood and convert it into approximately 1.5-litre urine per day. 1200ml of blood flows through both the kidneys per minute and out of it 1 ml of urine is formed per minute. The urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder through two thin tubes of muscle called ureters, one on each side of the bladder. The bladder stores urine. The muscles of the bladder wall remain relaxed while the bladder fills with urine. As the bladder fills to capacity, signals sent to the brain tell a person to urinate soon. When the bladder empties, urine flows out of the body through a tube called the urethra, located at the bottom of the bladder. In men the urethra is long, while in women it is short.

A doctor should be consulted if any of these symptoms are experienced.

Human kidney magnification from a body as a medical diagram with a cross section of the inner organ with red and blue arteries and adrenal gland as a health care illustration of the anatomy of the urinary system.

Common symptoms of kidney diseases include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Passing only small amounts of urine
  • Swelling, particularly of the ankles, and puffiness around the eyes
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth and urine-like odor to the breath
  • Persistent fatigue or shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite

About kidney cancer

Most commonly known as renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer is one of the top ten commonly diagnosed cancers in men and women. While the incidence of renal cell carcinoma is increasing, there is also an increased rate of cancer detection because of the common use of cross-sectional imaging. As a result, many cancers are detected at earlier stages, increasing the available treatment options.

Kidney procedures

Please refer to your Urologist for advice on all kidney treatment options.

About partial and complete nephrectomies

  • Partial nephrectomy

    In a partial nephrectomy also called nephron-sparing surgery the surgeon removes a cancerous tumour or diseased tissue and leaves in as much healthy kidney tissue as possible.

    Evidence also shows that many small kidney cancers may be indolent and may progress slowly, but there is no reliable method for predicting which patients will develop metastatic cancer. Although several systemic treatments have been developed in the last decade, the outcomes for metastatic renal cell carcinoma remain poor. As a result, aggressive treatment is usually recommended in patients who do not have serious medical comorbidities.

  • Complete nephrectomy

    During a complete (radical) nephrectomy, the surgeon removes the entire kidney. A nephrectomy procedure is performed during general anaesthesia. The patient also has a urinary catheter placed before surgery  a catheter is a small tube that drains urine from your bladder.
    Procedures for partial and complete nephrectomy: Please refer to your Urologist for advice on all treatment options.

Robot-assisted partial nephrectomies

The da Vinci’s’ Surgical System combines superior 3D high definition vision with our patented EndoWrisr Instruments allowing for enhanced dexterity, precision and control. The end result: improved patient experiences and a breakthrough in surgical capabilities.

  • Benefits of robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery compared to Open Surgery:

    • Precise tumour removal and kidney reconstruction
    • Excellent chance of preserving the kidney, where indicated
    • Low rate of operative complications
    • Short hospital stay
  • Benefits of robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery compared to traditional laparoscopic surgery:

    • Shorter operation
    • Shorter warm ischemic time (shorter is better for kidney function)
    • Less blood loss
    • Shorter hospital stay