Live donor nephrectomy: a review of evidence for surgical techniques

Transpl Int. 2010 Feb;23(2):121-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2009.01027.x. Epub 2009 Dec 10.


Live kidney donation is an important alternative for patients with end-stage renal disease. To date, the health of live kidney donors at long-term follow-up is good, and the procedure is considered to be safe. Surgical practice has evolved from the open lumbotomy, through mini-incision muscle-splitting open donor nephrectomy, to minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques. There are different minimally invasive techniques, including standard laparoscopic, hand-assisted laparoscopic, hand-assisted retroperitoneoscopic, pure retroperitoneoscopic, and robotic-assisted live donor nephrectomy. At present, these minimally invasive techniques are subjected to clinical trials focusing on surgical outcome, quality of life, costs, long-term follow-up, and also morbidity of donor, recipient, and graft. In practice, many centers only perform donor nephrectomy on young healthy donors with normal weight. There is increasing evidence that donor nephrectomy with multiple arteries, right kidney and obese patients can be done with precaution. In this review, we address the surgical part of live kidney donation and the best level of evidence for all surgical techniques and issues surrounding the technique.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation / methods*
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Laparoscopy / trends
  • Living Donors*
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / trends
  • Nephrectomy / methods*
  • Nephrectomy / trends
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Renal Artery / abnormalities
  • Robotics / methods
  • Robotics / trends
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / methods*
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / trends