Renal Tumor

What is a Non cancerous renal tumor?

A non cancerous (benign) tumor of the kidney is a type of growth that does not metastasize(spread) to other surrounding organs. Benign tumors are not usually life-threatening. They are removed with surgery and usually do not come back or recur.

Non-cancerous tumours

Papillary renal adenoma

Papillary renal adenoma is the most common non-cancerous kidney tumour. These tumours are small, grow slowly and usually don’t cause any symptoms. They are often found during an imaging test done for other reasons.


Oncocytoma starts in the cells of the collecting ducts of the kidney. These tumours can grow quite large. There can be several oncocytomas in one or both kidneys. Oncocytomas may be found at the same time as a cancerous tumour.


Angiomyolipoma is a kidney tumour made up of fat, blood vessels and smooth muscle tissue. They often develop in people with tuberous sclerosis, a genetic condition that causes non-cancerous tumours to form in many organs, including the eyes, skin, brain, lungs, heart and kidneys. Even though these tumours are non-cancerous, they can spread into and destroy surrounding tissue. Tumours larger than 4 cm (1-1/2 in) can also cause sudden bleeding (called hemorrhage) from the kidney into the abdomen.

Treating renal tumors with Partial Nephrectomy

Partial nephrectomy which is also known as “kidney-sparing surgery.” or “nephron-sparing surgery” During partial nephrectomy Dr. Mario Delgadillo removes the tumor and saves the kidney. 

partial nephrectomy procedure illustration

Partial nephrectomy is performed via robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery. There are many other critical variables involved that are best handled by an experienced team like Dr. Mario delgadillo and his medical team.

Benefits of a partial nephrectomy

Studies have shown that patients who retain the full kidney compared to those who have complete kidney removal, have a reduced risk of other health complications. Those with total kidney removal experience later signs of health complications such as heart disease and die from it. However, this may not apply to all patients. These options should be discussed with Dr. Mario Delgadillo. 

Am I not better off by removing my entire kidney and being safe?

Not necessarily. Studies have shown that a partial nephrectomy can remove the tumor and achieve results similar to total kidney removal.  This has been well established for tumors less than four cm and there is emerging research suggesting that the same is true for larger tumors.

An experienced surgeon can look at the CT or MRI scan and make an assessment regarding the feasibility and safety of a partial nephrectomy. Less experienced surgeons may erroneously decide that it is best to take out the entire kidney.  Partial nephrectomy is a relatively rare complex procedure and there is no substitute for experience in helping make the right decision.

Who is the ideal partial nephrectomy patient?

First and foremost, the tumor must be in a location that would make a partial nephrectomy feasible and safe. Experienced surgeons specializing in partial nephrectomy have the best chance at removing difficult tumors successfully.

These are ideal patient characteristics:

  • A patient who already suffers from kidney failure. If this patient loses a kidney he/she are more likely to require dialysis—which will result in a worsened quality (and potentially quantity) of life.
  • A patient who has tumors in both kidneys. Saving one or both kidneys will help this patient avoid kidney failure as well.
  • A patient who has risk factors for kidney failure. The most common reasons patients have poor kidney function today are diabetes and high blood pressure. Having these conditions means you may already have worse kidney function than you think. Saving the kidney will maintain a better kidney function and prevent kidney failure in the future.
  • Any patient in whom the tumor can be safely removed via partial nephrectomy. Since we do not know what the future may bring, saving the kidney is usually preferable. Again, for certain patients this may not be desirable and a discussion with Dr. mario delgadillo is necessary.

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