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J Urol. 2004 Dec;172(6 Pt 1):2287-91.

Differences in complications and outcomes for obese patients undergoing laparoscopic radical, partial or simple nephrectomy.

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Department of Urology, Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California 94143-1695, USA.



Obesity has increased dramatically in American society during the last 2 decades. While the laparoscopic approach is common for patients requiring radical and partial nephrectomy, it is unclear if this procedure leads to worse outcomes and complications in obese patients. We determined if obese patients undergoing laparoscopic radical (RN), partial (PN) and simple (SN) nephrectomy are at risk for worse surgical outcomes or increased complications.


We retrospectively identified patients treated with nontransplant transperitoneal laparoscopic nephrectomies from 1998 to 2003. Patients with missing body mass index (BMI), operative, postoperative or pathological information were excluded from study. Obese patients (BMI 30 or greater) were compared to nonobese patients (BMI less than 30).


A total of 189 patients undergoing 117 RN, 44 PN and 30 SNs met study criteria, and 29.0% of patients were obese. Overall obese patients had longer operative times (280 versus 241 minutes, p = 0.003), greater estimated surgical blood loss (230 versus 109 ml, p = 0.0001) and higher transfusion rates (6.8% versus 0.8%, p = 0.032) than nonobese patients. In subgroup analyses obese patients receiving RN and PN had longer operative times and increased blood loss. Obese and nonobese patients have similar open conversion rates, analgesic requirements, hospital stay, time to oral intake, and major and minor complication rates regardless of nephrectomy type.


Laparoscopic nephrectomy is associated with slightly greater operative time, estimated blood loss and transfusion rates in obese patients. Laparoscopic RN, PN and SN are safe and well tolerated in obese patients. Obesity is not a contraindication to laparoscopic renal surgery.

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