Background: Nephron-sparing surgery (NSS) for small renal masses (SRMs) is currently the standard of care to treat renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The concept of partial resection of RCC has mainly been developed to preserve kidney function. Therefore, we have performed this study to explore the research activity that has been undertaken since the early twenty-first century to investigate the advantages of NSS on preserving kidney function and preventing chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Methods: Based on the Scopus database, this bibliometric study was used to reveal publication patterns in the kidney function and NSS research field. The data were analysed with VOSviewer version 1.6.16 software, which was used to create a network visualisation map that included research hotspots in this area.
Results: A total of 449 scientific publications focused on renal function in NSS between 2001 and 2020. One hundred and seventy (38%) of the total published articles originated from the USA. Journal of Urology, European Urology, and Journal of Endourology were the top publications detailing research in this field. Half (50%) of the top 10 cited articles were published in the Journal of Urology, with an average citation of around 200 per article. The three most encountered research themes were comparative studies between partial and radical nephrectomy in terms of kidney function and development of CKD, the impact of type and duration of ischemia during resection on glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decline, and the effect of different surgical approaches on intermediate and long-term kidney function.
Conclusion: NSS for SRMs and RCC and its impact on kidney function is a hot topic in the literature, and the amount of published data has consistently been rising since 2000. However, even though hundreds of documents have studied this topic from various perspectives, there is a compelling need to answer several questions such as the overall survival (OS) benefit of performing NSS in localised RCC and head-to-head comparison of robotic-assisted versus laparoscopic NSS in terms of warm ischemia time and long-term decline in GFR.