Denver kidney care

Kidneys play an essential role in controlling blood pressure, maintaining bone health, removing bodily waste and establishing chemical balance. Swedish Medical Center’s kidney specialists offer comprehensive care for the prevention and treatment of kidney disease and cancer.

Our Physicians


In patients with kidney failure, the kidneys become unable to effectively remove toxins, excess fluid and electrolytes such as potassium. As a result, build up forms in the bloodstream, causing more severe issues. Dialysis is a process where toxic substances or excess fluids are removed from the body. There are two types of dialysis: hemo (HD) and peritoneal (PD).

Kidney cancer

An estimated 60,000 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year. The majority of kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas, which usually grow as a single tumor in the kidney. Kidney cancer does not present many symptoms in the early stages—larger or more developed kidney cancers may present the following:

  • Blood in the urine
  • A mass or lump in the side of the body or lower back
  • Lower back pain
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue

In some cases, the cause of kidney cancer is unknown. However, cigarette smoking is one of the main causes. Other risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure and family history of kidney cancer. It is nearly twice as common in men as in women.

Radical nephrectomy

If a cancerous tumor is found in the kidney, it may be necessary to completely remove the kidney to prevent the spread of cancer. At Swedish Medical Center, surgeons employ the use of robotic assisted surgery to perform a robotic radical nephrectomy.

A radical nephrectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the complete removal of the kidney. When a tumor grows in the kidney, doctors may be able to just remove the cancerous tissue and preserve the remaining kidney, this is known as a partial nephrectomy.

A robotic radical nephrectomy is a newer, more advanced surgical procedure for kidney removal. Utilizing robotic technology, a surgeon makes smaller, more precise incisions in the surgical area. Many surgeons within the Center for Advanced Urologic Surgery at Swedish have performed a large number of robot-assisted laparoscopic surgeries to treat urological conditions. The majority of our patients are able to resume their normal activities the day after surgery.

Renal biopsy

A renal biopsy is a medical procedure used to extract pieces of kidney tissue for laboratory analysis. The analysis provides your doctor with information needed to diagnose, monitor or treat problems of the kidney. There are two ways to perform a renal biopsy:

Open biopsy: your doctor makes a cut in your skin near the kidneys. This allows the physician to view the kidneys and determine which samples of tissue should be taken.

Percutaneous biopsy (renal needle): the most common type of renal biopsy, this procedure involves the insertion of a needle through the skin to remove kidney tissue. An ultrasound or CT scan may be used to direct the needle to a specific area of the kidney.


A renogram is an exam that uses a radioactive substance to examine your kidneys and their function. Swedish offers two types of renogram: captopril and dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) cortical.

Captopril: the purpose of this exam is to look for renal artery stenosis (for patients with high blood pressure), obstruction or trauma. During this procedure, a radiotracer is injected into your veins and a diuretic is administered to flush out the kidneys.

DMSA cortical: this exam evaluates the size, shape and function of the kidneys and detects scarring caused by frequent infections. Similar to the captopril exam, a radiotracer is injected in your veins. After, a gamma camera takes pictures of the kidneys for your physician to review.

Percutaneous nephrostomy

A percutaneous nephrostomy is a procedure in which a small plastic tube, called a catheter, is placed through the skin, into a kidney to drain a buildup of urine and rid of kidney stones.