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J Urol. 2002 Jan;167(1):238-41.

Vaginal extraction of the intact specimen following laparoscopic radical nephrectomy.

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  • 1Section of Laparoscopic and Minimally Invasive Surgery, Urological Institute, A-100, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.



We report the detailed technique and results of transvaginal extraction of the intact laparoscopic radical nephrectomy specimen.


Since June 2000, 10 select female patients with a median age of 67 years underwent transvaginal extraction of the intact specimen after laparoscopic radical nephrectomy. In 5 patients open surgery had previously been performed on the uterus, including transabdominal hysterectomy in 2 and cesarean section in 3. Laparoscopic nephrectomy was performed via the transperitoneal and retroperitoneal approach in 5 cases each. After completion of the primary laparoscopic procedure a sponge stick was externally inserted into the sterile prepared vagina and tautly positioned in the posterior fornix. Laparoscopically a transverse posterior colpotomy was created at the apex of the tented up posterior fornix and the drawstring of the entrapped specimen was delivered into the vagina. After laparoscopic exit was completed the patient was placed in the supine lithotomy position. The specimen was extracted intact via the vagina and the posterior colpotomy incision was repaired transvaginally. Patients were mailed a linear scale analog questionnaire to assess various aspects of recovery with responses graded from 0--no pain and/or change to 10--severe pain and/or change.


Vaginal extraction was successful in all 10 patients. Median operative time for the vaginal extraction procedure was 35 minutes. Blood loss was minimal. Median tumor size was 3.6 cm. (range 2.4 to 7.4) and median specimen weight was 327 gm. (range 152 to 484). No intraoperative complications occurred. Postoperatively blood spotting via the vagina in 1 patient resolved spontaneously. Postoperative questionnaires revealed excellent patient satisfaction and convalescence.


Vaginal extraction is an efficacious and minimally morbid technique for removing the intact entrapped specimen after laparoscopic radical nephrectomy. It has now become our preferred technique of intact specimen extraction in appropriate female patients.

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