Background: The objective of the current study was to report a single-surgeon, single-center experience with 100 consecutive laparoscopic radical nephrectomies with intact specimen extraction, with the aim of evaluating the oncologic adequacy of the laparoscopic dissection from a technical standpoint and various parameters including the learning curve.
Methods: Of the 140 laparoscopic radical nephrectomies performed at the study institution since August 1997, the initial 100 are evaluated herein. To evaluate the technical oncologic adequacy, comparison was made with 40 contemporary open radical nephrectomy specimens with regard to detailed radiologic (computed tomography scan) and pathologic data.
Results: In the 100 patients studied (with a mean tumor size of 5.1 cm), the mean surgical time was 2.8 hours, the blood loss was 212 mL, the specimen weight was 554.3 g, and the hospital stay was 1.6 days. Complications occurred in 14 patients (14%) and were major in 3 (3%) and minor in 11 (11%). Two patients (2%) were converted to open surgery. There was no perioperative mortality. Over a mean follow-up of 16.1 months, there was no local or port site recurrence reported; 2 patients developed metastatic disease with 1 death occurring at 11 months. When evaluating the learning curve in the initial 50 versus the second 50 patients, a shorter surgical time (P = 0.02) appeared to be the only significant variable. On multivariate analyses, the only variables found to impact on surgical time were specimen weight (P < 0.001) and chronologic time period of surgery (P = 0.05). All laparoscopic specimens were extracted intact; surgical margins were negative for tumor in all 100 patients. All detailed radiologic and histopathologic parameters evaluated were nearly identical between the laparoscopic and open surgery groups.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy with intact specimen extraction currently is a routine, effective, and efficacious treatment option for patients with T1-T3aN0M0 renal tumors. Although no long-term data were available as of last follow-up, the negative surgical margins achieved routinely in the current series provide encouraging surrogate evidence of the technical efficacy of laparoscopy from an oncologic standpoint. As such, at the study institution, laparoscopic radical nephrectomy with intact specimen extraction currently is the standard-of-care for patients with T1-3aN0M0 renal tumors measuring < or = 10-12 cm in size.
Copyright 2001 American Cancer Society.