Purpose: We evaluated pain, convalescence and health related quality of life in patients undergoing laparoscopic and open mini-incision donor nephrectomy.
Materials and methods: We compared the records of consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic and mini-incision open donor nephrectomy from our donor nephrectomy data base in retrospective fashion using 2 questionnaires. The first questionnaire evaluated postoperative pain, return to functioning time and satisfaction. The second questionnaire was the RAND 36-Item Health Survey, version 2, a standardized and validated health survey quality of life assessment tool. Mean patient sex, age and followup were similar for the 2 groups. All data were analyzed using the 2-tailed t test for independent variables with commercially available statistical analysis software.
Results: Pain in the laparoscopic group was significantly less than in the mini-incision group at all followup time points (p <0.05). Statistically significant differences demonstrated that laparoscopy led to more rapid recovery time in certain categories, including walking, discontinuation of prescribed oral pain relievers, return to driving, and resumption of normal work and home daily activities. More subjective questions in the survey showed high levels of acceptance for the 2 procedures. Using the RAND 36-Item Health Survey, version 2 health related quality of life was significantly higher in the laparoscopy group in 3 domains that measure bodily pain, physical functioning and emotional role functioning. However, each group scored at or above age matched American averages in all domains.
Conclusions: The laparoscopy group had significantly less postoperative pain and required less time to return to normal functional activities than the mini-incision group. In addition, the laparoscopic group showed significantly higher quality of life scores than the mini-incision group in 3 domains.