Background and purpose: Laparoscopic living donor nephrectomy (LLDN) is a standard method of donor nephrectomy. Most cases of LLDN are transperitoneal. Retroperitoneal access, however, implies a direct approach to the retroperitoneal organs without interfering with any of them. Since 2001, we have been trying to establish the technique of retroperitoneoscopic live donor nephrectomy (RPLDN). To assess the safety, feasibility, and usefulness of RPLDN, we reviewed the experience with this technique at our institution.
Patients and methods: From July 2001 to March 2009, 425 patients underwent live donor renal transplantation at our institution with allografts procured by RPLDN. Study variables included operative time, time to retrieval of the kidney, blood loss, warm ischemia time, length of hospital stay, number and length of renal vessels, graft function, and complications.
Results: Mean follow-up was 53 months. Donor nephrectomy was performed successfully in all patients. The complication rate was 4.9%. In one case, the procedure was changed to open donor nephrectomy because of severe adhesion in the renal hilum from previous surgery. Ureteral complications occurred in four patients, who were successfully treated with retrograde ureteral stent placement. None of the donors needed readmission. Mean warm ischemia time was 4.8 minutes. Creatinine levels returned to normal in all patients, and long-term allograft function was good. Serum creatinine levels at postoperative days 1, 7, and 14 were 3.7 mg/dL, 1.4 mg/dL, and 1.4 mg/dL on average, respectively. Slow graft function was noted in four (1.1%) cases but returned to the normal level within 2 weeks after surgery. One-year donor survival was 99%, and 1-year graft survival was 98.2%.
Conclusions: Excellent donor safety and allograft function were obtained with RPLDN. These results suggest that RPLDN could be an option for LLDN.