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New single incision robotic kidney cancer surgery available

Minimally invasive surgery reduces pain, scarring and recovery time for patients

TUCSON, Ariz. (May 17, 2021) – Banner – University Medicine Tucson is now offering single port, robotic-assisted kidney cancer surgery thanks to the expertise of Benjamin Lee, MD, a leading authority on robotic treatment of renal cell carcinoma. 

The surgery is called single port robotic partial nephrectomies, or single port robotic surgery, which uses the da Vinci SP® Single Port Surgical System, a technological advancement to treat complex kidney cancers through one small incision. In addition, to kidney cancer, an otolaryngologist can also use the technology to treat ear, nose, and throat lesions.

Dr. Lee, who also is chair (interim) and professor of urology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, said the goal of the surgery is to remove the kidney cancer, while preserving 50-75% of the remaining kidney, which decreases the risk of renal failure.  

The complex robotic surgery is the leading edge of technology and introduces new expertise and surgical techniques previously not available in the state of Arizona. 

The single port robotic-assisted technology is linked to improved patient outcomes by reducing scarring, pain, and recovery times for patients by providing surgeons the ability to use one small incision to create a minimally invasive option for complex procedures. The previous technology, the da Vinci Xi robot, takes up to 6 incisions to dock the robotic arms and complete the kidney surgery.  

The single port robotic-assisted surgery involves the use of four multi-jointed, wristed surgical instruments, including a steerable 3D high-definition camera and an assistant accessory port into the patient abdomen through one small incision. The single port surgical system arm allows 360-degree access to the abdomen. These instruments are under the direct control of the surgeon, providing added precision and dexterity, and offer more control and range of motion than standard instruments. 

With 25 years’ experience, Dr. Lee is an international leader in robotic surgeries who teaches other surgeons how to gain robotic surgery expertise which he says has transformed the treatment of kidney and prostate cancer. 

“In the past, the options were open surgery through a foot-long incision near the 12th rib cutting through muscle and often required removing a rib. The old robotic surgery approach involved six incisions for kidney or prostate surgery using the Xi robot to remove tumors. Those approaches required 4 to 5 months expected recovery time and a 4-5-day hospital stay. With the de Vinci SP® Single Port Surgical System, patients can expect a 2-3-week recovery time and an overnight stay,” said Dr. Lee, an expert in developing novel techniques for robotic and laparoscopic surgery.

The ultimate benefit for the patient, Dr. Lee says, is to eliminate the kidney cancer and reduce the need for dialysis post-surgery.  

To schedule an appointment, please call 520-694-4032. To learn more, please visit:

Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center South are part of Banner – University Medicine, a premier academic medical network. These institutions are academic medical centers for the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Included on the two campuses are Diamond Children's Medical Center and many specialty clinics. The two academic medical centers are part of Arizona-based Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit or
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