Complications of laparoscopic nephrectomy in 185 patients: a multi-institutional review

J Urol. 1995 Aug;154(2 Pt 1):479-83. doi: 10.1097/00005392-199508000-00037.


Purpose: We document the incidence of complications associated with laparoscopic nephrectomy in a multi-institutional study.

Materials and methods: The study included the initial 185 patients undergoing laparoscopic nephrectomy at 5 centers in the United States between June 1990 and July 1993.

Results: A total of 30 patients (16%) had 34 complications. There was no mortality. Access-related complications included 2 cases of hernia formation at the trocar site, 1 abdominal wall hematoma and 1 trocar injury to a hydronephrotic kidney. Intraoperative complications included 5 cases of vascular injury, 1 splenic laceration and 1 pneumothorax. Postoperative complications involved the gastrointestinal tract in 6 cases, cardiovascular system in 6, genitourinary tract in 4, respiratory system in 4 and musculoskeletal system in 2. Miscellaneous complications occurred in 3 patients. Open surgical intervention was required electively in 8 patients and on an emergency basis in 2. The incidence of complications decreased with experience: 71% occurred during the initial 20 cases at each institution.

Conclusions: In our early experience the complication rate for laparoscopic nephrectomy was 12% in patients with benign renal disease and 34% in those with renal cancer. Based on this collective experience, recommendations for prevention, recognition and treatment of complications are made.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intraoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Kidney Diseases / surgery*
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy / adverse effects*
  • Nephrectomy / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology