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March 5, 2020 — World Journal of Urology



To determine the impact of intraoperative ultrasound on robotic-assisted radical nephrectomy with inferior vena cava (IVC) tumor thrombectomy in renal cell carcinoma (RCC).


We retrospectively analyzed intraoperative records of 27 patients with RCC and invasion of the IVC who underwent robotic-assisted nephrectomy with tumor thrombectomy at our center between December 2017 and July 2018. Diagnostic utility and impact of intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), intraoperative robotic-assisted ultrasonography, and intraoperative contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) on surgical management were extracted from the surgical notes and intraoperative ultrasound reports.


Twenty-seven patients with thrombus had intraoperative ultrasound. Complete tumor removal was achieved in 22 patients, IVC transection in 5 patients, and no residual tumor was observed in all patients. Intraoperative TEE changed the robotic surgical strategy in three patients by monitoring thrombus-level regression. Downstaging of the thrombus level occurred in three patients: Levels IV to III in one and Levels III to II in two. Intraoperative robotic-assisted ultrasonography has facilitated safe VC clamp placement and identification and protection of collateral vessels during IVC transection in five patients. Intraoperative CEUS helped to differentiate the boundary between tumor thrombus (enhancement and small vessel pulsation) and bland thrombus (hypoechoic or no enhancement) in eight (29.6%) patients with bland thrombus.


Intraoperative ultrasound is a safe, minimally invasive technique that can provide accurate real-time information regarding the presence and extent of IVC involvement and guidance for placement of a vena cava clamp, confirming the character of the thrombus to plan an optimal surgical approach.

Authors: Qiuyang Li, Nan Li, Yukun Luo, Hongkai Yu, Xin Ma, Xu Zhang & Jie Tang

World J Urol (2020).

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