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Urology. 1996 Oct;48(4):562-7.

Laparoscopic complications in markedly obese urologic patients (a multi-institutional review)

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610-0247, USA.



Significant obesity is considered to be a relative contraindication to laparoscopic surgery. This study reviews the complications encountered in massively obese patients undergoing urologic laparoscopic surgery.


Body mass index (BMI) was used as an objective index to indicate massive obesity. Eleven institutions compiled retrospective data on 125 patients having a BMI greater than 30. Procedures performed included 76 pelvic lymph node dissections, 14 nephrectomies, 7 bladder neck suspensions, and 28 miscellaneous procedures.


For the group as a whole, the mean BMI was 35.1 (range 30.1 to 57.2). Mean operative time was 202 minutes (range 60 to 480). Conversion to open surgery occurred in 15 of the 125 patients (12%). Complication rates (minor and major) were 22% (27 occurrences in 125 patients) intraoperatively and 26% (33 occurrences in 125 patients) postoperatively. The major complications included 2 trocar injuries to abdominal wall vessels, 1 bladder injury, 3 peripheral nerve injuries, 1 dysrhythmia, 1 deep vein thrombosis, 1 wound seroma, 1 nephrocutaneous fistula, 1 incisional hernia, and 1 death.


In this review, complication rates for urologic laparoscopic surgery on massively obese patients were higher than in the general population undergoing laparoscopic surgery (0.3% to 21%).

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