Introduction: The increase in the detection of renal tumors incidentally in earlier stages has enhanced the enthusiasm for nephron-sparing surgery (NSS). Patients and Methods: We performed NSS in 76 patients (53 male, 23 female) with a mean age 52.3 between December 1988 and September 2001. Patients were sub-classified into 2 groups as elective or imperative indication group. They were compared regarding surgical technique, time of surgery, pathological analysis, complications, and disease free status. Results: Elective indication group (group I) with a normal contralateral kidney consisted of 50 patients, whereas there were 26 patients in the imperative indication group (group II). Tumors were incidentally detected in 63%; 74% in group I and 42% in group II. Although the mean diameter of the tumor was slightly higher in group II (39.1 vs. 36.3 mm), this difference did not reach statistical significance (p > 0.05). The partial nephrectomy was performed more frequently compared to enucleation in group I (90 vs. 69%, p = 0.050). However, the mean operation time as well as the mean clamping time did not differ significantly between the two groups (p > 0.05). In the histological evaluation tumors were benign in 16 (21%) and malignant in 60 patients. All of the patients but one with renal cell carcinoma had stage T1-T2 disease. Major complications were observed in 14 (18%) and 12 were from group II. Complication rate was significantly higher in group II (p = 0.000). Of 60 patients with renal cell carcinoma, 2 died of unrelated causes. One patient died with multiple visceral metastases. One patient was lost to follow-up. In the remaining 56 patients with a mean follow-up of 37.1 months (1-152), local recurrence or distant metastases were not detected. Serum creatinine levels have remained almost the same compared to preoperative levels (1.2 +/- 0.6 vs. 1.5 +/- 0.9). Overall and cancer-specific survivals were 100 and 100% in group I, 85 and 95% in group II, and 94 and 98% for the entire patient population, respectively. Conclusion: NSS is an effective and reliable treatment in low stage renal tumors. It prevents unnecessary nephrectomy in benign lesions that could not be diagnosed preoperatively. However, the patients who underwent NSS with elective indication outcome with better results, compared to those with imperative indication. Copyright (C) 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel.