Department of Urology

Kidney cancer

Renal cell carcinoma is the third most common urological tumor. Men suffer twice as likely as women from renal cell carcinoma. Most of the time the tumor is discovered between the ages of 40 and 60 and only a few patients have the classic symptoms, such as blood in the urine, flank pain, a palpable swollen upper abdomen or changes in blood levels, which then lead to the diagnosis of a kidney tumor. Most kidney tumors are now discovered accidentally on ultrasound scans or computed tomography, often for entirely different reasons.


If there is a suspicion that a tumor is present on the kidney, further examinations are necessary in addition to the physical examination, urine and blood analyzes.

By ultrasound and computed tomography a tumor can be confirmed or excluded with very high certainty. At the same time, these examinations can determine whether there has been a spread to other organs.

In still unclear findings maybe further investigation, such as the magnetic resonance imaging or contrast enhanced ultrasound are required.


If renal cell carcinoma has been diagnosed, surgical treatment is necessary in most cases. The kidney must also be surgically exposed, even if no clear findings can be made even after extensive investigations. If necessary, a clear diagnosis is possible by means of a tissue sample. This procedure is necessary in order not to overlook a malignant tumor, which otherwise would have been very easy to treat at this time, but then, due to loss of time, to a more unfavorable stage.

Kidney sparing procedures

Depending on the findings, partial kidney resections are performed using different techniques. Small tumors can be removed without interruption of the blood supply (ischemia). For larger and / or multiple tumors, the tumor is removed from the short-term non-perfused kidney using specific kidney function-preserving techniques. The result is controlled by frozen section examinations, through which the pathologist checks during the operation whether the entire tumor has been removed.


If the preservation of a tumor-bearing kidney is not possible, it should be completely removed (tumor nephrectomy). Minimally invasive (laparoscopic) or open surgical techniques are used.

Laparoscopic surgery ("keyhole surgery") can be operated on as long as a kidney tumor is still organ-restricted and does not exceed a certain size depending on its location. The prerequisites for the laparoscopic approach may also be accompanied by concomitant circumstances such as previous operations and other underlying diseases. Advantages of minimally invasive laparoscopy are, in particular, the short hospital stay, the rapid postoperative recovery to full capacity and the favorable cosmetic result.

The open surgical approach may be necessary if either concomitant diseases prohibit the use of laparoscopy or if it is particularly large, especially cross-organ tumors.

Follow up

The operation of a kidney tumor is considered to be a moderate operation, so that usually several days inpatient stay are necessary. After the discharge takes place in a short distance a review to check the healing process is recommended. Follow up is dependend on the tumor stage and aggressiveness. Through regular examinations (physical examination, ultrasound and X-ray examinations) a possible recurrence of the disease should be detected in time, which is possible even after successful removal of the kidney tumor after years.

We therefore strongly recommend that you follow the follow-up appointments with your doctor.

Our specialists

Dr. Juan Miguel Pou Medina, senior physician, specialist in urology, urological surgery, laparoscopy
Dr. Anna Philippi, senior physician, tumor surgery, responsible for the urological emergency room

Consultation Hours

Thursday 8:30 - 12:00

To schedule an appointment or if you have questions:
Heike Mylius
Sophia Schottenhammel
Phone +49 (0)89 1797-2603
Fax +49 (0)89 1797-2623