Objectives: To determine whether laparoscopic living donor nephrectomy is safe and efficacious in markedly obese renal donors.
Methods: From 1996 to 1999, 431 laparoscopic living donor nephrectomies were performed. The markedly obese group consisted of 41 patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35. Forty-one controls with a BMI less than 30 were matched to the obese donors by sex, age, race, and date of surgery.
Results: The markedly obese and control groups were closely matched in sex, race, age, serum creatinine level, creatinine clearance, HLA match to recipient, side of donated kidney, and experience level of the surgeons. The obese patients had a BMI range of 35.2 to 53.9 (mean 39.3), and the control patients had a BMI range of 18.4 to 29.0 (mean 24.3). Donor operations in the markedly obese were significantly longer by an average of 40 minutes. The greater intraoperative blood loss and longer extraction incision length seen in the markedly obese did not reach statistical significance. More and larger laparoscopic ports were used in the markedly obese. Obese donors were more likely to require conversion from laparoscopic nephrectomy to open nephrectomy than ideal-sized donors. The postoperative recovery of the gastrointestinal tract, hospitalization time, analgesic requirements, and total complications were equal in the two groups, although the obese donors' complications tended to be cardiopulmonary problems. The recipient graft function was equivalent between the two groups.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic living donor nephrectomy is more difficult to perform in the markedly obese but is associated with an equivalent donor morbidity and recipient renal outcome.