Paul Russo, MD, FACS

Urologic Surgeon

Conditions Treated

Memorial Sloan Kettering surgeon Paul Russo
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About Me

I am a urologic surgeon who specializes in caring for people with kidney (renal cell) cancer. I treat people with all stages of the disease, from small localized tumors to larger, more-advanced kidney cancers that have spread. I have more than 30 years of experience and perform about 250 major operations each year.

People who have been newly diagnosed with cancer can understandably be anxious about their illness and what lies ahead. My goal is to reassure the people who meet with me, to let them know that they are in excellent hands. I want them to be bolstered by the knowledge that my experienced team and I will customize their care to achieve the best possible outcome.

My area of expertise includes partial nephrectomy for people with smaller kidney tumors. In this surgery, we remove the tumor but leave the vast majority of the kidney alone. This approach preserves renal function and can prevent or delay the onset of chronic kidney disease and related cardiovascular problems.

I also perform complete removal of the kidney (radical nephrectomy) for people with large tumors that have destroyed most of the kidney. This procedure is for those with more-advanced cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes or the major veins that carry blood into the heart.

I often work with my colleagues in medical oncology to make these types of operations part of clinical trials. Through studies we can find out if new chemotherapies given before or after surgery can improve people’s outcomes.

In addition to caring for patients, I am known for my academic work in the field. I lead a research team at MSK with surgeons, oncologists, epidemiologists, pathologists, molecular biologists, and radiologists. We work diligently on both basic science and clinical aspects of kidney cancer. Members of our team publish many academic papers and present at national and international meetings. We are invited as visiting professors to many centers in the United States and abroad. Our research program attracts talented medical students and residents who are interested in an academic career.

I come from a family of doctors, including a father who was a urologist. I was drawn to oncology by the desire to help people with cancer. I believe that research into the biology of the disease will lead to better outcomes and renewed hope for people with cancer — something that I gratefully witness every day here at MSK.

In my free time, I love spending time with my kids and my wife (who is also a surgeon), playing golf, cooking, and reading. I also enjoy traveling around the world and teaching as a visiting professor in many countries, including Cuba, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, among others.

  • Clinical Expertise: Urologic Oncology; Kidney Cancer
  • Awards and Honors: Castle Connolly: New York Magazine Top Doctors (2002, 2009, 2011-2012, 2015-2018); Kidney Cancer Association: Andrew Novick Award for Excellence in Kidney Surgery (2015); Nominee, MSK Junior Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring (2015); US News & World Report: New York City Best Doctors (2004–2018)
  • Languages Spoken: English
  • Education: MD, Columbia University
  • Residencies: General Surgery - Washington University Medical Center; Urologic Surgery - Washington University Medical Center
  • Fellowships: Urologic Oncology - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Board Certifications: Urology

See My Colleagues


Visit PubMed for a full listing of Paul Russo’s journal articles

Pubmed is an online index of biomedical articles maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Clinical Trials

Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.


Most major health insurers offer plans that include MSK as one of their in-network providers. If MSK is in-network, it means all our doctors are too. Medicare and New York State Medicaid also provide benefits for care at MSK.

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