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Ann Surg. 1997 Oct;226(4):483-9; discussion 489-90.

Comparison of open and laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy.

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  • 1Center for Advances in Videoscopic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.



This study compares an initial group of patients undergoing laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy to a group of patients undergoing open donor nephrectomy to assess the efficacy, morbidity, and patient recovery after the laparoscopic technique.


Recent data have shown the technical feasibility of harvesting live renal allografts using a laparoscopic approach. However, comparison of donor recovery, morbidity, and short-term graft function to open donor nephrectomy has not been performed previously.


An initial series of patients undergoing laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy were compared to historic control subjects undergoing open donor nephrectomy. The groups were matched for age, gender, race, and comorbidity. Graft function, intraoperative variables, and clinical outcome of the two groups were compared.


Laparoscopic donor nephrectomy was attempted in 70 patients and completed successfully in 94% of cases. Graft survival was 97% versus 98% (p = 0.6191), and immediate graft function occurred in 97% versus 100% in the laparoscopic and open groups, respectively (p = 0.4961). Blood loss, length of stay, parenteral narcotic requirements, resumption of diet, and return to normal activity were significantly less in the laparoscopic group. Mean warm ischemia time was 3 minutes after laparoscopic harvest. Morbidity was 14% in the laparoscopic group and 35% in the open group. There was no mortality in either group.


Laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy can be performed with morbidity and mortality comparable to open donor nephrectomy, with substantial improvements in patient recovery after the laparoscopic approach. Initial graft survival and function rates are equal to those of open donor nephrectomy, but longer follow-up is necessary to confirm these observations.

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