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The impact of introducing laparoscopic donor nephrectomy to an established renal transplant program



Although the advent of hand-assisted laparoscopic donor nephrectomy (HLDN) has had a positive impact on the donor pool, there is still some concern about its safety. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of a change in surgical access to live-donor nephrectomy on donor-related complication rates, the renal function of the donor, and the graft function of the recipient.


At our hospital, HLDN was introduced in 1998. Thereafter, we compared 49 consecutive donors undergoing open donor nephrectomy (ODN) between 1987 and 2002 with 57 consecutive donors undergoing HLDN between 1998 and 2002. Donor renal and recipient graft functions were assessed by measuring creatinine levels and urine output, with the addition of warm and cold ischemia time and dialysis requirements in the latter group. Data are presented as means (±SD) and analyzed with the Student t-test or Fisher’s exact test.


The ODN and HLDN donors were comparable for age, gender, body mass index, renovascular anatomy, and preoperative creatinine. Estimated blood loss (370 ± 280 vs 168 ± 160 ml, p < 0.0001), time to resumption of oral intake (1.7 ± 0.5 vs 1.3 ± 0.7 days, p = 0.01), duration of intravenous narcotic requirements (23 ± 0.7 vs 1.7 ± 1.0 days, p < 0.0001), and hospital stay (4.2 ± 1.4 vs 2.9 ± 1.3 days, p < 0.0001) were significantly decreased after HLDN. There were no significant differences between ODN and HLDN in operating time (204 ± 46 vs 202 ± 49 min), donor-related complication rates (12.2% vs 14%), or donor renal and recipient graft functions.


The introduction of HLDN to an established renal transplant program led to an improved short-term outcome without any increase in donor-related complication rates or delay in recipient graft function.

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We thank Ricardo Santos, MD, for his assistance during chart review.

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Correspondence to R. Bergamaschi.

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Raftopoulos, Y., Nghiem, D.D., Gignac, M. et al. The impact of introducing laparoscopic donor nephrectomy to an established renal transplant program. Surg Endosc 18, 1519–1523 (2004).

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  • Kidney transplantation
  • Laparoscopic nephrectomy
  • Live-donor nephrectomy
  • Open nephrectomy