Ilija's story - kidney cancer

Kidney cancer robotic surgery

Partial nephrectomy using advanced robotic surgery

Ilijas's Story - Ilija Sakota's left kidney was removed due to cancer in 2004. Last year, his right kidney was diagnosed as cancerous.

“This news about cancer in my right kidney, it hit me,” Sakota says. Losing his remaining kidney would mean that Sakota would have to spend the rest of his life on dialysis, or receive a kidney transplant. But his doctors at UCLA hoped they could spare Sakota that future by using advanced robotic surgery to perform a partial nephrectomy.

A surgical robot enables surgeons to spare more of the normal kidney and, therefore, extend normal quality of life while at the same time safely removing the cancers.

Sakota’s surgery was made more challenging by the location of the tumor – deep inside his kidney. Getting to the tumor could result in life-threatening blood loss. But with the use of ultrasound to map the location of the tumor, coupled with the experience of the surgeons and the greater surgical precision that is afforded by the robot, the operation, which might otherwise not have been feasible, was possible.

The day after the surgery, Sakota was surprised to find a nurse urging him to move. “I thought ... it is going to hurt,” he says. “I tried, and it was easy. The next morning, I was able to go home.”

Today, Sakota is cancer-free. “I was confident that at UCLA I can find the help,” he says. “These people really worry about you – not only about your disease but about you as a person. I don't worry now about my future.”

The Department of Urology at UCLA is one of the oldest, most progressive and comprehensive urology programs in the country. Our renowned faculty members in Male Urology work side by side with research scientists in the quest for new cures and treatments for prostate, kidney and bladder cancer; pelvic floor disorders; incontinence; genitourinary tract conditions; as well as male and female sexual dysfunction.