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J Urol. 2006 Sep;176(3):1102-6; discussion 1106-7.

Laparoscopy for renal cell carcinoma: diffusion versus regionalization?

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Michigan Urology Center, University of Michigan Health System, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0330, USA.



Recognizing the emergence of laparoscopy as a standard of care for surgical treatment in many patients with organ confined renal cell carcinoma, we explored the diffusion of this technology by examining temporal trends in the nationwide use of laparoscopic total and partial nephrectomy in patients with renal cell carcinoma.


Data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample were abstracted for 1991 through 2003. International Classification of Diseases-Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification 9 codes were used to identify patients undergoing open and laparoscopic total and partial nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma. Using hospital sampling weights we calculated annual incidence rates for open and laparoscopic nephrectomy, thereby estimating the diffusion of laparoscopy. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify patient and hospital characteristics associated with the more frequent use of laparoscopic techniques.


Data on 63,812 patients were abstracted from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, yielding a weighted national estimate of 323,979 who underwent laparoscopic (4.9%) or open (95.1%) nephrectomy (total or partial) for renal cell carcinoma between 1991 and 2003. Although it is still infrequent, the use of laparoscopy has increased steadily since 1998 with a utilization peak in 2003 of 1.7 laparoscopic nephrectomies per 100,000 American population, representing 16% of all total and partial nephrectomies for renal cell carcinoma in 2003. Treatment year, overall hospital nephrectomy volume and teaching hospital status were the most robust determinants of increased laparoscopic use (each p <0.001).


Although its use has increased progressively in the last decade, the dissemination of laparoscopy for renal cell carcinoma has been generally slow and limited in scope. The next step in this body of work is to identify specific technical, educational and policy interventions that will influence the diffusion of this alternative standard of care.

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