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J Endourol. 1998 Apr;12(2):139-41.

Laparoscopic nephroureterectomy: making management of upper-tract transitional-cell carcinoma entirely minimally invasive.

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  • 1The Scottish Lithotriptor Centre, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.


Endoscopic treatment of upper-tract transitional-cell carcinoma (TCC) is well established. Nevertheless, many patients still required major ablative surgery. We have applied our experience with laparoscopic nephrectomy to the performance of laparoscopic nephroureterectomy in order to make the management of upper-tract TCC entirely minimally invasive. Since 1993, we have performed 22 laparoscopic nephroureterectomies for upper-tract TCC. Initially, we excluded patients with tumors below the pelvic brim, but we now offer a trial of laparoscopy to all patients. We describe the evolution of our technique, which involves resecting the ureteral orifice prior to laparoscopic dissection of the kidney and ureter. We have had to convert three cases to open surgery, one each for bleeding, failure to progress, and unappreciated tumor extent. Operative times averaged 156 minutes, which compares well with contemporary times for open nephroureterectomy. Complication rates, transfusion requirements, and length of stay, although higher than those of laparoscopic nephrectomy, were all reduced in comparison with open nephroureterectomy.

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