Kidney Surgery May Effect Bone Health Adversely

Bone-Healthy Living / Research / October 14, 2011

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There is now evidence through studies that a complete removal or radical surgery of the kidney points at the increased possibility of bone brittleness later at life, especially for women in their senior years. Researchers from the San Diego School of Medicine, University of California are now suggesting that it is important for doctors to evaluate the possibility of pursuing a kidney-sparing surgery in an effort to preserve kidney function and to reduce the risk of bone fractures later in life including the risk of developing osteoporosis. (1)

It is believed that though radical nephrectomy (surgery of the kidneys) is an easier procedure to perform, it is loaded with more complications in the post-operative phase, such as metabolic complications including metabolic acidosis, muscle wasting, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and death. (2)

Carcinoma of kidney cells is a commonly diagnosed urological malignancy with an estimated 60,920 new cases in the United States during 2011, out of which, 37,120 men and 23,800 women will be afflicted with the condition. (3)

The UC San Diego team (led by Ithaar Derweesh and includes fellow researchers Aditya Bagrodia, Reza Mehrazin, Wassim M. Bazzi, Jonathan Silberstein, John B. Malcom, Sean P. Stroup, Omer Raheem, Robert W. Wake, Anthony Patterson, and Jim Y. Wan), has one of the highest kidney preservation rates in the country employing robotic technology to offer partial nephrectomies to patients who may have required traditional open surgery in the past, offering equivalent cancer cure rates and superior protection of kidney function. Derweesh is a nationally-recognized surgeon-scientist who is pioneering maximal preservation of kidney function following minimal invasive surgery procedures in treating kidney cancer.

As per Christopher Kane, MD, Professor of Surgery, C. Lowell and JoEllen Parsons Endowed Chair in Urology and Chief of the Division of Urology, and paper co-author, “Too often urologists have done radical nephrectomies for patients who were candidates for partial nephrectomy.  While partial nephrectomy is more complex for the surgeon to perform, it can offer better quality of life later in life.” (4)


1. Kidney Preserving Surgery Saves Bone Health, UC San Diego Health System, August 4, 2011.
2. Comparison of Rates and Risk Factors for Development of Osteoporosis and Fractures After Radical or Partial Nephrectomy,
Science Direct,J uly 2nd, 2011.
3. Kidney Cancer (Adult) – Renal Cell Carcinoma, American Cancer Society, June 23, 2011.
4. Kidney Preserving Surgery Saves Bone Health, Medical News Today, August 5, 2011.

Author: Monica Straith, BS

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