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Radiology. 2002 Nov;225(2):427-32.

Comprehensive MR imaging in the preoperative evaluation of living donor candidates for laparoscopic nephrectomy: initial experience.

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Department of Radiology, NYU Medical Center, 560 First Ave, Suite HW 202, New York, NY 10016, USA.



To evaluate the accuracy of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in the preoperative evaluation of potential living renal donors who are candidates for laparoscopic nephrectomy.


Twenty-eight donor candidates who underwent subsequent laparoscopic nephrectomy were examined by using a torso phased-array coil at 1.5 T. Gadolinium-enhanced MR angiograms, MR venograms, and MR urograms were obtained in all patients by using an interpolated three-dimensional T1-weighted spoiled gradient-echo sequence (3.4-6.8/1.2-2.3 [repetition time msec/echo time msec], 25 degrees -40 degrees flip angle). Interpretation of the MR images was used to assess the arterial, venous, and ureteral anatomy, as well as parenchymal masses and scarring, and findings were compared with the surgical findings in all patients. Statistical evaluation was performed, with the surgical findings as the reference standard.


At MR imaging, 31 of 32 renal arteries and one of three early-branching arteries were identified correctly. The correct venous anatomy was identified in 23 of 28 patients, including a single left renal vein anterior to the aorta (n = 16), retroaortic left renal vein (n = 2), circumaortic left renal vein (n = 2), and single right renal vein (n = 3). A single collecting system in all harvested kidneys was identified correctly with MR urography. Overall, MR imaging correctly depicted vascular, ureteral, and parenchymal anatomy in 21 of 28 patients. Twenty-seven of 28 patients underwent successful laparoscopic donor nephrectomy on the basis of the MR findings. One procedure was converted to open nephrectomy on the basis of complex venous anatomy not prospectively identified on the MR images. The sensitivity and positive predictive value of MR imaging in correctly determining the combined vascular, ureteral, and parenchymal anatomy in the harvested kidney were 75% (21 of 28) and 95% (21 of 22), respectively.


Comprehensive gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging can depict the vascular anatomy, collecting system, and renal parenchyma preoperatively in patients who are candidates for laparoscopic living-donor nephrectomy.

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