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J Urol. 2007 Aug;178(2):440-5; discussion 444. Epub 2007 Jun 11.

Results of inferior vena caval interruption by greenfield filter, ligation or resection during radical nephrectomy and tumor thrombectomy.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Mayo Medical School and Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.



Surgical resection for patients with renal cell carcinoma and venous tumor thrombus may require interruption of the inferior vena cava using a Greenfield filter, ligation or resection. We describe the indications, technique, complications and outcomes of vena caval interruption during nephrectomy with tumor thrombectomy.


We identified 160 patients treated for level II-IV tumor thrombus at our institution between 1970 and 2004. Operative reports were reviewed to establish vena caval interruption. All patients who underwent interruption were assessed for postoperative disability according to the American Venous Forum International Consensus Committee.


Vena caval interruption was performed in 40 of 160 cases (25%), including 14 level II, 10 level III and 16 level IV thrombi. A total of 34 patients (85%) were symptomatic at presentation. A Greenfield filter was deployed before cavotomy closure in 4 of 160 patients (2.5%) for bland thrombus of the infrarenal vena cava. Vena caval ligation was used for bland thrombus that completely occluded the infrarenal vena cava in 23 of 160 patients (14.4%), while segmental vena caval resection was performed for tumor thrombus growing into the wall of the vena cava or for tumor thrombus that interfaced with bland thrombus in 13 of 160 (8.1%). Postoperatively no case was class 3 disability, 12 of 40 (30%) were class 2, 12 of 40 (30%) were class 1 and 16 of 40 (40%) showed no disability.


The need to interrupt the inferior vena cava is not infrequent in patients undergoing radical nephrectomy and tumor thrombectomy, and it may be well tolerated postoperatively. Management should be based on the degree of venous occlusion and the presence of bland thrombus.

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