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St. Mary’ doctor first in Tri-State to perform medical procedure

Rocco A. Morabito Jr., MD, FACS, a urologist with St. Mary’s Urology, is the first physician in the Tri-State region to perform a successful retroperitoneal robotic-assisted partial nephrectomy to treat renal cell cancer.

A partial nephrectomy consists of removing a portion of the kidney while preserving the majority of it in order to mitigate the future need for dialysis. The retroperitoneal approach refers to the area behind the peritoneum, the layer that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in the abdomen.

“The majority of robotic urological surgery is performed through a transabdominal approach,” Morabito said. “The retroperitoneal approach is more challenging and confined to a smaller working space, minimizing the risks of post-operative bowel dysfunction.”

The minimally invasive retroperitoneal approach is ideal for tumors that are located on the back side of the kidney. This approach is beneficial to patients with significant abdominal adhesions in which the transabdominal approach would be challenging. Open partial nephrectomies typically involve a large incision in the flank area and may require partial removal of a rib, which can leave the patient with chronic pain.

“Using the retroperitoneal approach can help reduce the length of stay in the hospital along with reducing the amount of post-operative pain for the patient,” Morabito said. “The patient had minimal blood loss and was discharged on hospital day one without any complications. She was ultimately cured of renal cancer.”

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