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Mt Sinai J Med. 2012 May-Jun;79(3):330-41. doi: 10.1002/msj.21317.

Live-donor nephrectomy.

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  • 1Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.


Six decades after its first implementation, kidney transplantation remains the optimal therapy for end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis. Despite the incontrovertible mortality reduction and cost-effectiveness of kidney transplantation, the greatest remaining barrier to treatment of end-stage renal disease is organ availability. Although the waiting list of patients who stand to benefit from kidney transplantation grows at a rate proportional to the overall population and proliferation of diabetes and hypertension, the pool of deceased-donor organs available for transplantation experiences minimal to no growth. Because the kidney is uniquely suited as a paired organ, the transplant community's answer to this shortage is living donation of a healthy volunteer's kidney to a recipient with end-stage renal disease. This review details the history and evolution of living-donor kidney transplantation in the United States as well as advances the next decade promises. Laparoscopic donor nephrectomy has overcome many of the obstacles to living donation in terms of donor morbidity and volunteerism. Known donor risks in terms of surgical and medical morbidity are reviewed, as well as the ongoing efforts to delineate and mitigate donor risk in the context of accumulating recipient morbidity while on the waiting list.

© 2012 Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

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