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Curr Urol Rep. 2004 Apr;5(2):100-7.

The advantages of hand-assisted laparoscopy.

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  • 1New York Urological Associates, 880 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The technical challenges of performing laparoscopic renal surgery require fellowship training and are associated with a steep learning curve. For the established urologist in practice, fellowship training is not a reality. As a result of these obstacles, in the late 1990s, laparoscopic renal surgery was entering the domain of the general surgeons who had a large number of laparoscopic procedures at their disposal to develop laparoscopic skills. Hand-assisted laparoscopic renal surgery is a hybrid procedure combining the most salient features of open renal surgery and laparoscopic renal surgery. By allowing the surgeons to place their non-dominant hand into the abdominal cavity, palpation and spatial orientation became possible, lessening the learning curve for laparoscopic surgery. Moreover, hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery could be applied to a variety of renal surgeries, extirpative and reconstructive, with results similar to those already achieved by standard laparoscopy. Throughout the past 5 years, hand-assisted laparoscopy has allowed urologists to incorporate laparoscopic renal surgery into their practices to the benefit of their patients and of their specialty. This review article offers a historical review of the development of hand-assisted laparoscopy and describes the procedures commonly performed today using this technique.

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