Objectives: Nephron-sparing surgery has become the treatment of choice for small renal masses and also for renal cell carcinoma even in the presence of a normal contralateral kidney.
Whilst it is obvious that a complete excision is mandatory, the size of the margin remains debated.
Methods: An updated analysis of the available literature has been carried out by the authors.
Results: This analysis shows that frozen sections or final pathologic examination of the margins are not very useful and that a normal tissue margin of just >= 1 mm may be adequate to prevent local recurrence and disease progression from renal cell carcinoma.
Conclusions: The margin status is obviously more important than the margin size.