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Florida Surgeon Demonstrates Kidney Sparing Cancer Treatment in Live Surgical Webcast

By observing a laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation procedure live, and seeing first hand the benefits to patients, Sarasota Memorial Urologist Robert Carey, MD, hopes more surgeons will embrace less invasive cancer treatments.

Sarasota, FL (PRWEB) March 11, 2010 -- Surgical removal of the kidney is the most common treatment for renal cell cancer, a type of cancer typically resistant to radiation and chemotherapy. But some of the nation’s leading urologists are proving that less aggressive surgery that removes the cancer cells and spares the kidney can be equally effective ... and result in a better quality of life.

Today, Sarasota Memorial Urologist Robert Carey, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S., was one of two nationally recognized surgeons to perform minimally invasive cancer surgeries – laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation of a kidney tumor and cryoablation on a prostate – and broadcast the procedures live via the Internet from their respective operating rooms to physicians at the Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association’s annual meeting in Miami ( Carey and his partner Daniel Kaplon, M.D., performed the surgery in a specially equipped OR at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla. (

“By observing the procedures live, and seeing first hand the benefits to our patients, we’re hoping more urologists will embrace newer, less invasive surgical techniques,” said Carey. “For some patients, a traditional open surgery can cause greater morbidity and complications. A minimally invasive approach is their best chance of not only surviving an operation, but also maintaining a better quality of life.”

Carey was invited to present the live surgical webcast because of superior patient outcomes and a number of studies he has published worldwide on the benefits of minimally invasive surgical techniques to urological patients. The procedure he demonstrated involved a high-risk elderly patient on blood thinners. After exploring several surgical options, he chose Dr. Carey and Sarasota Memorial because it was the only option that offered a minimally invasive treatment that preserved his kidney.

“As a result, the patient will be able to keep his kidney and he will have less risk of suffering progressive kidney disease and requiring dialysis in his lifetime,” Carey said.

Traditionally, surgeons cut out the cancer by removing an entire kidney, lymph nodes and any suspicious cells in the surrounding area. But that, Carey says, can lead to complications and life altering health issues, especially if the cancer recurs in the remaining kidney. In contrast, he said, radiofrequency ablation utilizes heat energy to destroy the cancerous tissue at the exact site where it exists in the body, without compromising kidney function.

Because it is performed laparoscopically – using small incisions and scopes through which a small camera and instruments can be placed into the body – the ablation procedure results in less pain and scarring, less risk of blood loss and infection and a faster recovery.    

Carey was selected to perform the live surgery webcast in part because of the research and patient outcomes reported in an award-winning 2007 Journal of Endourology report he authored. In that report, which earned first prize at the World Congress of Endourology in 2006, he documented the successful ablation of 104 renal masses, 40 percent of which were greater than 3 cm. There were no blood transfusions, no intra- or peri-operative deaths, no patients who progressed to metastatic disease or to dialysis, and there were no patients who lost their kidneys as a result of the procedure, he noted.

"Patients and physicians who refer them are increasingly seeking hospitals and surgeons who perform laparoscopic nephron-sparing operations for kidney cancer,” Carey said. “The purpose of the live broadcast and surgical demonstration is to train other surgeons to perform these procedures safely and therefore increase the treatment options for patients in their respective communities.”

About Robert Carey, M.D. Ph.D. F.A.C.S.
Dr. Robert I. Carey, of Sarasota, Florida, is a urologic surgeon and a clinical associate professor at the Urology Treatment Center, Florida State University College of Medicine. He received his medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia. His residency training in surgery and urology, and a fellowship in robotic surgery, laparoscopy, and endourology, were completed at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989. In 2006 he received first prize at the World Congress of Endourology for his clinical essay describing direct, real-time temperature monitoring for radiofrequency ablation of renal tumors. He is co-author of Conquer Prostate Cancer: How Medicine, Faith, Love and Sex Can Renew Your Life and is a consulting editor for the Journal of Robotic Surgery. (

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of inpatient, outpatient, home health and extended care. Its 806-bed hospital is Florida’s second largest acute care public hospital. It is the only hospital in the region ranked among U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals” and awarded Magnet designation – the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence. It has been recognized among America’s top hospitals for quality and safety by three years in a row (2008, 2009 and 2010). For information, visit:


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