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J Urol. 2000 Oct;164(4):1153-9.

Laparoscopic versus open radical nephrectomy: a 9-year experience.

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  • 1Departments of Surgery, Urology and Radiology, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, 63110, USA.



The laparoscopic approach for renal cell carcinoma is slowly evolving. We report our experience with laparoscopic radical nephrectomy and compare it to a contemporary cohort of patients with renal cell carcinoma who underwent open radical nephrectomy.


From 1990 to 1999, 32 males and 28 females underwent 61 laparoscopic radical nephrectomies for suspicious renal cell carcinoma. Clinical data from a computerized database were reviewed and compared to a contemporary group of 33 patients who underwent open radical nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma.


Patients in the laparoscopic radical nephrectomy group had significantly reduced, estimated blood loss (172 versus 451 ml., p <0.001), hospital stay (3.4 versus 5.2 days, p <0.001), pain medication requirement (28.0 versus 78.3 mg., p <0.001) and quicker return to normal activity than patients in the open radical nephrectomy group (3.6 versus 8.1 weeks, p <0.001). The majority of laparoscopic specimens (65%) were morcellated. Operating time and cost were higher in the laparoscopic than the open nephrectomy group. Average followup was 25 months (range 3 to 73) for the laparoscopic and 27.5 months (range 7 to 90) for the open group. Renal cell carcinoma in 3 patients (8%) recurred in the laparoscopic group versus renal cell carcinoma in 3 (9%) in the open group. When stratified patients with tumors larger than 4 to 10 cm. experienced similar benefits and results as patients with tumors less than or equal to 4 cm. To date there have been no instances of trocar or intraperitoneal seeding in the laparoscopic radical nephrectomy group.


Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy, although technically demanding, is a viable alternative for managing localized renal tumors up to 10 cm. It affords patients with renal tumors an improved postoperative course with less pain and a quicker recovery while providing similar efficacy at 2-year followup for patients with T1 and T2 tumors.

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