Purpose: Retroperitoneoscopy assisted live donor nephrectomy has become standard based on our experience with 103 consecutive cases operated on between January 1993 and May 2000. We describe the advantages of retroperitoneoscopy assisted compared to laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy. Materials and Methods: After performing more than 1,200 cases of open live donor nephrectomy (S. C. Y.), we combined our experience with open and laparoscopic surgery to develop a specific technique of minilaparotomy live donor nephrectomy. Operations were performed by 1 senior surgeon and 1 assistant, with the help of specially designed piercing abdominal and peritoneal retractors. A 5 to 7 cm. transverse pararectal skin incision is made at the level of 10th rib and the abdominal muscles are split without division. A 10 mm. port is placed at the lower abdomen to allow for the telescope. The procedure is performed extraperitoneally, combining open and laparoscopic instruments under direct vision. Renal pedicles and ureters are ligated using laparoscopic clips and sutures. The kidney is removed via laparotomy and the wound is closed. Results: Average operating time for the 103 live donor nephrectomies was 130 minutes (range 85 to 210), and there was no case of kidney loss, open surgical conversion or blood transfusion. Mean warm ischemia time was 2.3 ± 1.2 minutes and average incision length was 6.5 cm. (range 5.1 to 7.0). Postoperative pain was minimal and analgesics were generally not required by postoperative day 2. Patients were fully ambulatory a mean 1.5 days (range 1 to 3.5) postoperatively. Conclusions: Retroperitoneoscopy assisted live donor nephrectomy is not only feasible, but reproducible. Any surgeon with previous experience with conventional open live donor nephrectomy can perform this hybrid, minimally invasive procedure.
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