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Surg Endosc. 2007 Apr;21(4):521-6. Epub 2006 Dec 16.

Laparoscopic donor nephrectomy: intraoperative safety, immediate morbidity, and delayed complications with 500 cases.

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Department of Surgery, Mount Sinai Medical Center, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, USA.



Several large series of laparoscopic donor nephrectomy (LDN) have been published, largely focusing on immediate results and short-term complications. The aim of this study was to examine the results of LDN and collect medium-term and long-term donor followup.


We examined the results of two surgeons who performed 500 consecutive LDNs from 1996 to 2005. Prospective databases were reviewed for both donors and recipients to record demographics, medical history, intraoperative events, and complications. Patients were followed between 1 month and 9 years after surgery to assess for delayed complications, especially hypertension, renal insufficiency, incisional hernia, bowel obstruction, and chronic pain.


Left kidneys were procured in 86.2% of cases. Mean operative time was 3.5 h, and warm ischemia time averaged 3.4 min. Hand-assistance was used in 13.8%, and conversion rate was 1.8%. Intraoperative complication rate was 5.8% and was predominantly bleeding (93.1%). Most (86.2%) of the operative complications occurred during the initial 150 cases of a surgeon, compared with 10.3% in the subsequent 150 cases (p = 0.003). Operative time decreased by 87 min after the initial 150 cases (p < 0.001). Immediate graft survival was 97.5%. Delayed graft function occurred in 3.0% of recipients, and acute tubular necrosis occurred in 7.0%. Thirty-day donor complication rate was 9.8%. Mean donor creatinine was 1.24 on the first postoperative day, 1.27 at 2 weeks, and 1.24 at 1 year. At a mean followup of 32.8 months, long-term donor complications consisted of 11 cases of hypertension, 9 cases of prolonged pain or paresthesia, 2 incisional hernias, 1 small bowel obstruction requiring laparoscopic lysis of adhesions, and 1 hydrocele requiring repair.


LDN can be performed with acceptable immediate morbidity and excellent graft function. Operative time and complications decreased significantly after a surgeon performed 150 cases. Long-term complications were uncommon but included a likely underestimated incidence of hypertension.

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