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J Endourol. 2001 May;15(4):391-5; discussion 397.

Hand-assisted laparoscopic nephroureterectomy versus open nephroureterectomy for the treatment of transitional-cell carcinoma of the upper urinary tract.

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  • 1James Buchanan Brady Foundation, Department of Urology, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College-Cornell University, New York 10032, USA.



For patients with upper tract transitional-cell carcinoma (TCC), nephroureterectomy with removal of a bladder cuff is the standard of care. Historically, it has been performed using two incisions or one large incision extending from the lateral flank to the symphysis pubis. We describe an alternative using endoscopic management of the bladder cuff combined with hand-assisted laparoscopic (HAL) nephroureterectomy. We compared our results using these minimally invasive advances with those of a contemporary open nephroureterectomy series.


Between May 1998 and June 1999, we performed 11 HAL nephroureterectomies with endoscopic management of the bladder cuff for the treatment of upper tract TCC. The results were compared with those in a contemporary series of 11 patients undergoing the traditional open operation at our institution. The patient age, male:female ratio, and ASA classification were similar in the two groups. Intraoperative measures considered were operative time, estimated blood loss, need for transfusion, complications, specimen weight and volume, pathologic stage and grade of the tumor, and the status of the surgical margins. Postoperative endpoints were time to sustained fluid intake; epidural, parenteral, and oral narcotic requirements; length of stay; and complications. Follow-up, specifically disease recurrence and overall survival, was recorded.


The mean operative time was 291 minutes for HAL v 232 minutes for the open operation (P = NS). The average blood loss was 144 v 311 mL (P = 0.04), the mean specimen weight 368 v 392 g (P = NS), and the mean specimen volume was 630 v 693 cc (P = NS). No patient in the HAL group had a positive surgical margin, but one patient in the open surgery group did. The time to sustained fluid intake postoperatively averaged 1.4 v 2.3 days for the HAL and open groups, respectively (P = NS). The epidural narcotic requirement was 0 v 2.7 days (P < 0.001), the mean parenteral narcotic requirement was 45 v 44 mg of morphine sulfate equivalent (P = NS), and the oral narcotic requirement was 5.8 v 16 tablets (P < 0.04). The average length of stay was 4.6 days for the HAL group v 6.1 days for the open group (P = 0.04). In both groups, 7 of the 11 patients (63%) were without evidence of disease with a mean follow-up of 13 (HAL) and 17 (open) months.


Hand-assisted laparoscopic nephroureterectomy with endoscopic management of the bladder cuff is an efficacious alternative to open surgery. The operative time, specimen weight and size, and risk of recurrence for the two procedures are similar. However, convalescence, as measured by pain medication requirements and length of stay, is significantly better with laparoscopy. Longer follow-up with larger numbers of patients is in progress.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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