What is the role of imaging studies in the preoperative workup for partial nephrectomy nephron-sparing surgery (NSS)?

Updated: Mar 31, 2019
  • Author: Reza Ghavamian, MD; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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With the advent of modern imaging modalities, most renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is detected incidentally during CT scan performed with and without intravenous contrast or abdominal ultrasonography. Intravenous urography may not clearly define a small renal mass; therefore, other forms of confirmatory imaging are frequently required.

The size, location, and characteristics of the renal mass (cystic vs solid) are assessed adequately with ultrasonography, CT scanning, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen. Note the following:

  • CT scanning and MRI of the abdomen can be beneficial to rule out metastatic or locally extensive disease.

  • MRI also has a role in evaluating the inferior vena cava for the presence of tumor thrombus and its proximal and distal extent. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) also allows for excellent definition of the vascular anatomy and the segmental vascular anatomy for optimal surgical planning.

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