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Organ-Sparing Surgery For Urologic Cancers


Not long ago, nearly all surgeries for bladder, prostate and kidney cancers involved the partial or total removal of the affected organs. But today, Mercy Medical Center can offer many patients organ-sparing minimally-invasive procedures that preserve organ function and enable them to enjoy a richer, healthier post-surgery quality of life.

Urinary Diversion and Reconstruction For Bladder Cancer

Radical Cystectomy and Urinary Diversion, removal of the entire bladder and surrounding structures (Prostate, Uterus, etc.), is the procedure of choice to cure aggressive cancer of the bladder.

At Mercy Medical Center, Director of Urology Dr. Eric Thall, can offer many advanced bladder cancer patients the creation of a "neo-bladder", utilizing the patient's own intestine to form a new bladder. Once the cancer is removed, Dr. Thall and Director of Surgery Dr. Gregory Zito meticulously harvest a portion of the intestine, reconfigure it into a sphere that resembles a natural bladder, and reconnect the urinary system to the urethra. When the extent of the cancer does not permit the use of the patient's urethra, the surgeons will connect the new bladder to the umbilicus. This will allow the patient to periodically empty their neobladder by inserting a small catheter into the naval.

Where typical surgeries leave patients reliant upon an external bag for urination, these revolutionary techniques provide an elevated quality of life after treatment. Mercy Medical Center is the only South Shore hospital performing this Urinary Diversion and Reconstruction.


Prostate I.G.R.T.

The most common treatment options for advanced prostate cancer are radiation therapy and radical prostatectomy to surgically remove the malignancy. Mercy Medical Center offers Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (I.G.R.T.) to deliver the maximum total radiation into the organ without affecting other sensitive organs or areas of the body.

For cancers that have grown beyond the edge of the prostate and cannot be treated with radiation or surgery, hormone treatments are typcially utilized. At Mercy, our physicians also utilize Provenge chemotherapy, a breakthrough treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer designed to work differently than hormone treatments or chemotherapy. It is the first FDA-approved treatment that engages the immune system into targeting and attacking the cancer.

Minimally-Invasive and Nephron-Sparing Kidney Cancer Surgery

Kidney-mass surgery is an important step when dealing with renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer among adults. Renal cell carcinoma surgery traditionally involved removing the entire kidney through an open surgical procedure called a radical nephrectomy. More recently, radical nephrectomy has been performed laparascopically, utilizing a camera and instruments inserted into the patient through three or four one-centimeter ports. This minimally-invasive procedure allows the patient a shorter hospitalization and quicker return to full activity. Dr. Thall, together with Dr. Gary Lefkowitz, his colleague at Island Urological Associates, have performed more laparascopic nephrectomies than anyone else on the South Shore.

Sometimes a kidney mass is so large and invasive that none of the kidney can be saved. Other times, the kidney tumor can be isolated and removed during a partial nephrectomy while leaving healthy parts of the kidney in place. Dr. Thall and Dr. Lefkowitz perform this complex organ-preserving procedure laparascopically as well.

When the risk of kidney mass removal is too high we can still offer a cure. Dr. Thall and Dr. Lefkowitz can laparascopically expose the mass and treat it with cryotherapy (freezing tissues to extreme low temperatures) thereby eradicating the cancer without cutting into and endangering the kidney. In extremely high-risk cases, our interventional radiologists can, under CT scan guidance, introduce radiofrequency energy into the mass to treat the cancer.

State-of-the-Art Laparoscopic Surgery Suite

These cutting-edge procedures are possible at Mercy due to the skill and experience of our surgeons and their access to a technologically advanced laparoscopic surgery suite that maximizes their performance and efficiency, while minimizing patient recovery time.

State-of-the-art equipment includes multiple high-definition, digital technology monitor screen, special lighting and voice-activated, high-definition video cameras that enable surgeons to have direct control of surgical devices using simple verbal commands. Studies show that voice control leads to better efficiency, improved surgeon control, and a reduction in surgical time.