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New here - posterior left kidney mass

Nielk's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2015

My mass was found as an incidental finding while getting an abdominal cat scan.  This was followed by an MRI with and without contrast.  The good news is that it is small 3x3x3 cm.  It is in the back of the kidney and touching the ureter. I met with the urologist/surgeon yesterday and I am scheduled for robot assisted laproscopic partial nephrectemy for next week 9/9.  

The surgeeon said that he wil do the incisions from the side as opposed to the abdomen since the mass is posterior to the kidney.  Has anyone gone through this?  He seems to say that this might result in less pain.  He said that the tumor is partially inside the kidney.  Is this usual?  

I can't say that I'm not nervous, especially since I suffer from other conditions like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. (I am 60)  But, I am thankful that it seems like they found it pretty early and hopefully the surgery will resolve it all.

I really appreciate this patient forum with all the advice here.  Thank you!

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3260
Joined: Jan 2010



Welcome to the club which no one in their right mind would volunteer to join. Yours is similar in size to my little buggar 13 lucky years ago. They were not doing partials than. I was a much younger 59 at the time. As for the details of your surgery that is above my pay grade. With your other issues make sure you also follow up with a nephrologist as diabities also lowers kidney function and kidney function will  remain a concern even though you are an excellent canidate for remaining cancer free.




Posts: 337
Joined: Nov 2014


We have a lot in common.  I also had a small tumor (2.8cm) found incidentally (on abdominal ultrasound).  It was also in the back of my left kidney.  However, my surgeon went in the front and I remember being somewhat surprised by that.  he talked about "moving all my intestines out of the way and flipping the kidney over."  I remember thinking, "whatever, man, just get this tumor OUT."

Not sure of the difference in pain, but the pain threshold for me was pretty low.  Robots are the way to go.  I had about 5 smaller incisions and one larger one under the belly button where they pulled the kidney out.  I was also scheduled for a partial, but my kidney had some interesting artery issues and they took the whole thing.  

The position of the tumor is usually at least partially inside the kidney.  The problem is when it leaves the fatty layer called the Gerota's fascia around the kidney.  Sounds like you will be A-OK; as you said it's pretty small and as long as the pathology is favorable you shouldn't have any other problems once it's removed.

- Jay 

Allochka's picture
Posts: 905
Joined: Nov 2014


it's bad to have a tumor somewhere in the body, but kidney is one of the best places to get it... Yours is small, so you should be all right after surgery. My partners tumor also was partially inside kidney, partially sticking out (but totally contained in fatty layer). So this is a common thing, and is actually good for partial nefrectomy. He had an open one, and even an open version was pretty ok pain-wise.

good luck to you on 09sep!

Jojo61's picture
Posts: 1310
Joined: Oct 2013


So sorry to hear about your kidney tumor. The surgeon does sound like he really knows his stuff, though! It is scary when you first hear about it, but it is good that you caught it early. Try not to worry too much about it....easier said than done, I know.....but really once it is behind you, you will be amazed at how quickly you can move on.

Please continue to post questions/concerns as you think of them. We will be here for you!! Good luck on the 9th!



Nielk's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2015

Thank you so much to all your encouraging replies!

I just got back from the hospital for all the pre-testing.  It is starting to sink in that this is really happening.  As you all have stated, I am lucky that they seem to have caught it early.  I can't say that I'm not worried though, because any operation has some risk involved.

I am worried about my recovery because I am in a pretty weakened state from my other medical issues.  I have been disabled from work for the past twelve years and have been mainly housebound.  

It will be good to be over with it.

I discussed with the nurse at the hoepital about the terrible nausea that I have had previously with general anesthesia.  She said that they will give me anti-nausea med in my IV prior to the surgery.  I also asked about stool softener (based on some comments on here) and she said they will give me that as well.

Anything else that I didn't think of?


Footstomper's picture
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

Moist Towelettes

Denisedh's picture
Posts: 28
Joined: Aug 2015

I had a similar small tumor on the right kidney and the robotic laparoscopic proceedure.  Part of it inside the kidney and part on the outside, but not posterior as far as I know.  I had a lot of nausea after surgery and it slowly got better.  It is terrible but if they know ahead of time, the meds should help you manage it.  I had Reglan, Zofran, and a scopolamine patch, all at the hospital.  Maybe you could get a wedge for your bed at home because your stomach muscles will be sore after surgery and it can hurt to go from lying to sitting.  I hope your surgery goes well.   Denise

Jan4you's picture
Posts: 1325
Joined: Oct 2013

Welcome, Nielk, glad you found us. Sorry for all you are going through. But I appreciate how you are able to reach out to this forum. We hope to offer you support, information and guidance.

I have had two laproscopic/robotic abdominal surgeries. I used this lumbar Velcro wrap (used to support bad backs). I got it from a drug store. It supported my sore abdomen, especially for getting up from sitting or laying down. I even wore it to bed for awhile. Instead of taking more narcotics/opiates, I used a dry ice packet and placed it inside this lumbar wrap over the largest incision (where they took out my kidney). I asked for ice packs in the hospital and the RNs answer was, "but you have pain meds ordered." Finally the PT gal went and got some for me from the ice machine and put them inside a face mask. geez. The called Pt for me to make sure I could walk safely. But not sure if everyone gets a PT to evaluate walking.

Make sure you tell the Anesthesiologist about your nausea issues. He/She will give you some anti nausea meds ahead of time And make sure the surgery nurses tell the recovery nurses to pass along to the floor nurses about your nausea, your weakness and concerns due to other illnesses. I also have chronic disorders, which affects my strength and muscles. I not only used less pain meds, but didn't really need them. In didn't like feeling loopy if I was trying to be steady and walk. BUT I did take pain pills if I needed them for awhile.

Also ask your surgeon to order an iron blood test for post surgery anemia. I know my surgeon didn't think it was necessary. However, he did order the test and YES, I was anemic. Took over the counter SLOW FE iron tablets as they do not constipate you. But I may have lost more blood having a radical nephrectomy. Trust me being anemic is not pleasant as it makes you feel weaker. Take the iron pills made my recovery much better.

They also don't tell you that they use a gas inside your abdomen to pump your tummy up huge. That is so the surgeon can move organs aside and SEE better. So that GAS gets trapped in certain places outside your intestines, like in your shoulder THAT was my worst pain and pain meds cannot ready it since it is outside the blood stream.

Your intestines are paralyzed by the meds the anesthesiologist gives you (through your IV) so the intestines are not moving during this delicate surgery. So it takes awhile for your gastro system to "wake back up" and start moving normally again. Plus the pain meds can be constipating.

The incisions are small, about an inch or smaller, for the instruments, the camera can get through. Therefore, the recovery is much easier than a huge 'open' incision that they used to do.

BUT please take the pain meds to stay ahead of the pain initially. Don't try to be brave okay? Again, you may or may not need as many meds or for very long. Every one is different.

We're here to walk along this journey with you if you like us to, lean on us, ask as many questions as WE understand hon.

Sending you healing, good vibes. Good luck!
Here's a gentle hug, Jan

foroughsh's picture
Posts: 775
Joined: Oct 2014


Wellcome to the board, I'm happy for you for finding this wonderful group of peolple so soon so they can help you from almost the begining. My tumor was a big one so they had to remove my whole kidney in an open surgery but I know robotic surgery has less side effect and less pain. It's good that you won't lose whole kidney because the tumor is small and they can do it partially. Every surgery has its risk but nephrectomy has been done for many years and all the expert surgeons know how to do it, it's not like open hear surgery with high risk, I mean. We've all had it, so feel better a little sooner and some a little later but we all survive it. Hope you have a successfull and uneventful surgery and a good patholigy report.




APny's picture
Posts: 1982
Joined: Mar 2014

Wishing you the best and a speedy recovery. Make sure you get up and walk as much as possible, as soon as possible. This not only keeps your lungs clear, but also aids in your intestines to wake up and get moving. Even if it's just for a few minutes and a few steps at first, do walk. They had me up and walking the night of my surgery and mine was open, not lap. They will also give you breathing exercises so make sure you do those. Drink lots of water! I feared the surgery and recovery terribly but my imagination ended up a lot worse than the reality. It wasn't easy but not nearly as bad as I had feared either. I agree with Jan about the blood test and iron test. I ended up anemic and iron deficient so keep on top of that.

Nielk's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2015

I do appreciate all the detail advice from all of you! It really helps me to be prepared, or as prepared as possible.  It sounds like walking as soon as possible is very important as well as drinling a lot of water.  I will ask about testing for anemia.  The pumping of air causes a lot of gas pains.  

I had four ceasarian deliveries many years ago and I remember the gas pains afterwards were terrible.  I'm assuming that with the blowing of air, it will be even worse.  

I took care of all the pre testing but, now they said that they want a cariology clearance as well so I have to go on Tuesday (the day before the surgery) to my cardiologist for an echocardiogram.  I hope it will all work out and I will have my surgery on time.

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