This article describes a hydraulic balloon dissection technique. The retroperitoneum is developed via a small lumbodorsal incision between the edges of the musculus latissimus dorsi and musculus obliquus externus and then after visualization of its correct position the balloon catheter is filled with 500-1,200 ml of warm normal saline (according to patient size). The device consists of the finger of a surgeon's glove ligated around the end of a rigid bladder catheter. The balloon insufflation is maintained for 5 min to guarantee adequate hemostasis. Recently, we have replaced the balloon catheter by a balloon trocar sheath allowing direct endoscopic control of the hydraulic dissection. After retrieval of the balloon the CO2 insufflator is connected to the first trocar. All secondary trocars are placed under endoscopic control. The hydraulic dissection techniques also enable optimal creation of an effective pneumoperitoneum in children. Until now, we have used this technique for twelve procedures in the upper retroperitoneum including five nephrectomies, two nephroureterectomies, one tumor nephrectomy, one nephropexy, one renal cyst marsupialization and two renal biopsies. Up to now we have encountered no major complications. Three of the nephrectomized patients had undergone multiple previous abdominal surgical interventions. The retroperitoneal approach allows the surgeon to apply similar dissecting techniques as used in respective open procedures. It has become the routine approach for laparoscopic procedures in benign renal disease. This procedure can be performed even in cases with previous abdominal surgery.