Purpose: The development of laparoscopic surgery in urology is increasing rapidly. We describe our experience with complications during and after transperitoneal laparoscopic surgery after 9 years of practice.
Materials and methods: A total of 1,311 laparoscopic procedures were performed by 5 senior urologists in the same department since 1992, of which 72% were classified as difficult or very difficult (prostatectomy, nephrectomy for cancer, nephroureterectomy, partial nephrectomy, cystectomy, para-aortic lymph node dissection), 27.5% as moderately difficult (nephrectomy for benign disease, adrenalectomy, genitourinary prolapse, ureteropelvic junction, pelvic and ureteral stones, ureterovesical reimplantation, pelvic lymph node dissection) and 0.5% as easy (lymphocele, renal cyst and so forth).
Results: There was no mortality or anesthetic complications. The overall transfusion rate was 2.4%. Complications were serious in 0.7% of cases, all of which required reoperation, intermediate in 1.8% of which 1% required reoperation and minor in 1.1%. The main complications were bowel (1.2%), vascular (0.5%) and ureteral injuries (0.8%). The conversion rate was 1.2% and the reoperation rate was 2.4%. Of the patients 1.2% had to be admitted to the intensive care unit. Postoperative complications were observed in 19% of cases. Laparoscopic surgery is associated with essentially the same complications as open surgery, and they, particularly bowel injuries and bleeding, can be diagnosed and often treated with repeat laparoscopy.
Conclusions: Complications during and after transperitoneal laparoscopy remain low and are not superior to those observed during and after open surgery. As laparoscopy becomes more widely used, urologists wishing to learn this technique must realize that the learning process is long but essential.