Objectives: To assess outcomes after hand-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy (HALN) for renal cell cancer tumor thrombus confined to the renal vein and to compare outcomes with published series in this setting.
Methods: Thirteen patients underwent HALN for radiologic T3b disease (tumor thrombus confined to the renal vein on preoperative computed tomography) under the care of three surgeons at two centers between 1997 and 2006.
Results: Median patient age was 69 years. Median duration of surgery was 176 minutes. Median blood loss was 250 mL. Median postoperative stay was 3 days. Two patients were converted to open surgery: 1 owing to unsuspected invasion of the subdiaphragmatic vena cava requiring vascular clamping with direct excision and suture, and 1 for control of bleeding. No patients suffered major morbidity associated with surgery, and there was one minor complication (aside from blood transfusion in 5 patients). After 2.7 years median follow-up, 3 of the 12 patients with pT3bN0 disease had metastases, but there were no local recurrences.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate that HALN for renal cell cancer with tumor thrombus limited to the renal vein is feasible. Our outcomes compare favorably to published data on open surgical radical nephrectomy in this setting, and HALN should be considered in centers with experience with this technique.