Nephron-sparing surgery (NSS) is a mandatory procedure for patients with solid renal masses who also have coexisting urologic or medical conditions that pose a threat to overall renal function. The excellent results observed with this procedure have led patients with normal contralateral kidneys to choose elective NSS as a treatment modality. However, the optimal selection criteria for NSS have not yet been defined. We review the developments in and recent results of NSS and discuss features critical in selecting patients for this procedure on an elective basis. Current data clearly support the use of elective NSS for localized solid renal masses under 4 cm in size.
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