Objectives: To describe the technique and compare the surgical outcomes of patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) undergoing laparoscopic or open nephrectomy for giant kidneys.
Methods: The surgical outcome of our first 10 consecutive patients with ADPKD who underwent laparoscopic nephrectomy was analyzed from a large prospective computer database. The results were compared with the 10 most recent open nephrectomy procedures performed for ADPKD at the same institution. To facilitate safe laparoscopic hilar dissection, the kidneys were made manageable by volume reduction, accomplished through diligent cyst puncture and aspiration using a novel prototype suction device with a beveled tip.
Results: No statistically significant differences were found between the laparoscopic and open surgical groups relative to patient sex, age, or median preoperative kidney size (24.0 versus 21.5 cm, respectively). The laparoscopic patients were significantly heavier than their open counterparts (94 versus 78 kg, P = 0.0095) and had a longer operative time (247 versus 205 minutes, P = 0.04). One conversion to open surgery occurred in the laparoscopic group because cysts were adherent to the spleen and colonic mesentery. No intraoperative complications or deaths occurred in either group and the postoperative complications were similar. The mean length of the postoperative hospitalization was markedly reduced with the laparoscopic compared with the open approach (2.6 versus 6.6 days, P = 0.00002). At a median of 12 months after surgery, none of the laparoscopic patients had recurrent pain, bleeding, or infection.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic nephrectomy is technically safe and feasible in patients with ADPKD. Progressive cyst aspiration is a critical step, facilitating the identification of vital structures and the creation of enough abdominal cavity space to operate. The advantages of this minimally invasive technique include a short hospital stay, minimal pain, low morbidity, and superior cosmesis.