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J Urol. 1999 Sep;162(3 Pt 1):665-9.

Laparoscopic renal and adrenal surgery in obese patients: comparison to open surgery.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Minimally Invasive Surgery Center, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.



The efficacy and morbidity of laparoscopic renal and adrenal surgery in comparison to open surgery in obese patients are unknown. This retrospective study was performed to compare the outcome of laparoscopic versus open renal and adrenal surgery in the markedly and morbidly obese patient (body mass index 30 or greater).


The study group comprised all obese patients undergoing laparoscopic renal and adrenal surgery (laparoscopic group) from August 1997 to February 1998 at our institution. The majority of procedures were performed using a retroperitoneoscopic approach via the flank. These patients were compared with all obese patients undergoing open renal and adrenal surgery (open group) from 1994 to 1998. Open group patients with factors precluding laparoscopic surgery were excluded from the study (mass greater than 10 cm., renal vein and/or inferior vena caval thrombus and extension outside Gerota's fascia).


There were 21 obese patients in each group and baseline parameters were comparable between groups. Median body mass index in the laparoscopic and open groups was 34 and 31, respectively. Median surgical time between the laparoscopic (210 minutes) and open (185) groups was comparable (p = 0.16). However, the laparoscopic group had decreased blood loss (100 versus 350 ml., p<0.001), quicker resumption of oral intake and ambulation (less than 1 versus 5 days, p<0.001), decreased narcotic analgesic requirements (12 versus 279 mg., p<0.001), shorter median hospital stay (less than 1 versus 5 days, p<0.001) and quicker convalescence (3 versus 9 weeks, p<0.001). There were 6 complications in 4 laparoscopic cases and 14 in 9 open surgery cases (p = 0.16).


Markedly obese patients have an increased risk of complications from surgery, regardless of the approach. Our data suggest that laparoscopic renal and adrenal surgery is technically feasible in the markedly and morbidly obese patient, and compared with open surgery results in significantly decreased blood loss, quicker return of bowel function, less analgesic requirement, shorter convalescence and reduced hospital stay.

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