Concern exists as to the safety of laparoscopic donor nephrectomy (LDN) compared with open donor nephrectomy. Reported complications of LDN include emergent conversion to an open procedure, repeated surgery for postoperative bleeding, and even death. We hypothesize that LDNs can be performed safely, with a complication rate comparable with that of open donor nephrectomies.
Case series and review of the literature.
Tertiary care university hospital.
Five hundred thirty kidney donors.
An LDN performed without hand assistance, with the kidney extracted through a low transverse incision.
Main Outcome Measures
Mean operative time, requirement for transfusion, intraoperative complications, and postoperative complications.
This series includes 84 right-sided donor nephrectomies, 86 donors with a body mass index greater than 30 (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters), and 91 donors with complex vascular anatomy. Mean donor age was 40 years (range, 18-73 years), and mean ± SD operative time was 196 ± 43 minutes. The only conversion occurred early in the series, and there have been 525 subsequent cases without the need for conversion or repeated surgery. There were no donor deaths. Five donors (0.9%) required perioperative blood transfusions. Overall complication rate was 6.4%, including 14 minor wound infections, 2 bowel injuries, 1 case of prolonged ileus, 3 splenic injuries, 2 bladder infections, 1 bladder injury, 1 case of rhabdomyolysis, 1 case of pneumonia, and 2 thromboembolic events.
This series demonstrates that LDN can be performed at least as safely as open donor nephrectomy, with minimal bleeding and few postoperative complications.