Surgical extirpation remains the most effective therapy for renal cell carcinoma. The surgical management of renal masses has evolved away from radical nephrectomy and now includes nephron-sparing surgery for small tumors. Nephron-sparing surgery has similar cure rates and does not appear to compromise cancer control. As the detection of small renal masses by widespread abdominal imaging continues to increase, so will the demand for minimally invasive nephron-sparing procedures. Despite progress in surgical techniques, laparoscopic partial nephrectomy remains a technically challenging procedure. In this review, we discuss the challenges and recent advances in laparoscopic partial nephrectomy and other minimally invasive approaches to renal masses.
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