Objectives To report our experience with laparoscopic nephrectomy and autotransplantation for the management of a variety of conditions with significant loss of healthy ureteral tissue or ureteral length. Renal autotransplantation has been described as an effective method for addressing this problem, avoiding the need for nephrectomy or complex ureteral replacement. In an effort to decrease the morbidity associated with traditional autotransplantation we elected to perform laparoscopic procurement of the kidney. Methods Four patients underwent laparoscopic nephrectomy using a transperitoneal four-port technique and subsequent autotransplantation into the iliac fossa for the treatment of proximal ureteral avulsion (2 patients), ureteral malignancy, and ureteral stricture. All patients had less than 5 cm of viable ureter. Results All procedures were performed without intraoperative complications. All renal scans on postoperative day 1 demonstrated good perfusion. None of the patients had a postoperative rise in serum creatinine. On postoperative day 1, the mean creatinine value was 0.95 mg/dL. Three patients had an uneventful postoperative course. One patient, however, had loss of the graft because of renal vein thrombosis on postoperative day 7. She was later found to have an undiagnosed thrombophilic disorder (decreased levels of antithrombin III) and to have a recent history of oral contraceptive use. Conclusions Laparoscopic nephrectomy with renal autotransplantation is a feasible minimally invasive alternative to treat patients who have significant ureteral loss. This approach avoids the need for an upper abdominal or flank incision, resulting in decreased morbidity. The initial follow-up studies indicated stable renal function. Additional long-term observation is currently under way.
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