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Flank bulge

Angiebby75's picture
Posts: 209
Joined: Aug 2017

Question, The permanent post op flank bulge and pain that I have been reading about. Is it more common after and open procedure or a robotic.  I have two Dr opinions one wants to do an open partial and one wants a robotic.




Posts: 112
Joined: May 2017

Hi Angie.....my husband had a robotic, laparoscopic full nephrectomy.....no flank bulge because it's several very small incisions in the abdomen (front).

Angie1496's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: Sep 2017

What I've read says its more common after open. I had robotic 2 weeks ago and so far don't have a Bulge. I have 4 small incisions and 1 about 3.5 inch one 

Angiebby75's picture
Posts: 209
Joined: Aug 2017

Thank you I m really  having a hard time choosing which method is best for me. I have two potential surgery dates and trying to figure out which one to go with. 

Optimisticgirl's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: Aug 2017

my husband had a laparoscopic nephrectomy via davinci robot on sept 6 this year...no bulge at all. 5 small incisions in belly and aporox 4 inch incision on right side. Doing very well at present. Good luck with your surgery!

foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

where the surgeon makes the incision. I've seen no less than 4 techniques. Sometimes it is easier for the surgeon, sometimes better exposure of the tumor. When entering from the side toward back muscle gets cut lengthwise and loose some innervation. Flank bulge.

more frontal techniques cut muscle more verticle. Less prone to nerve damage and muscle contractability remains excellent. I think opening from the front provides the surgeon a better look around than by using scopes. The muscle is pulled together with no loss of function after healing.

I wonder if people know how they will be cut during surgery?

JerzyGrrl's picture
Posts: 761
Joined: Jun 2016

I sort of knew how I'd get cut during the surgery. However, the last video of the surgery I watched before my own surgery showed the larger incision made horizontally by the bikini line (Disclaimer: I have no idea if the patient in that video wore bikinis or if so what their size and coverage would be). So, even though my own surgeon told me I'd have the larger incision run vertically just below my navel... I forgot. At my follow up appointment, I asked him about this. "I made it that way so you can wear a bikini," he said, smiling. 

Don't expect any bikini photos any time soon, though. I think the last time I wore a bikini was about the era of the first or second Super Bowl. 

But yeah, I knew. 

Manufred's picture
Posts: 241
Joined: May 2017


My diagnosis was of a 7 cm lump in the centre of my left kidney.  My urologist did not even consider a biopsy for fear of leakage, and preferred to remove the entire kidney by full open-cut from my back to side, again to avoid possible leakage of tumouous cells.  He did offer laproscopic surgery by a colleague, but we both decided the optimum outcome would be from open-cut, with the least risk of metastasis.  So for the last five years I have had an impressive scar and flank bulge (new term for me; we used Blobby Guts before now).  Neither of them worry me and I am not particularly concerned about how I look (within reason).

As it turned out, mets showed up anyway some 2 and a half years later, hence my experience with Nivo/Ipi, etc.  So, happy to share my experience but really could not offer an opinion  on which is better.

Hope it all goes well whichever way you decide on.


Angiebby75's picture
Posts: 209
Joined: Aug 2017

Thanks all, for the wealth of information I know much more, I will  ask my doctor how will the cut be done.

todd121's picture
Posts: 1449
Joined: Dec 2012

You can ask, but be prepared for a surprise too. Sometimes they don't know exactly until they get in there and start poking around. At least I think that's what happened with me. I had a the robotic laparascopy but because of my tumor location they couldn't get the kidney out in pieces (which fits better through a small hole) so I ended up with a larger horizontal incision midway up my abdomen on my right side. It has caused a hernia and a small bulge because of that. I think the hernia is rather mild at this point.

Hopefully your surgeon can tell you what is most likely but also what might happen. I didn't like any surprises along the way, but got plenty. I wished I'd asked more questions about this. On the other hand, I had a very good surgeon and at some point I decided to stay out of how he was going to do it. So many details he was taking care of, and the only surgery I've ever done was on a porterhouse steak. Was I really going to give him surgery advice?


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