Purpose: Access to retroperitoneal structures via the laparoscope has become established for various conditions. This minimally invasive approach has distinct advantages over conventional open surgery. We document our experience with laparoscopic cyst decortication for diseases of the kidney, including simple and complex cysts, multiple cysts and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.
Materials and methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 17 patients who underwent a total of 20 procedures. Cases were categorized as polycystic kidney disease and nonpolycystic kidney disease. Factors analyzed were estimated blood loss, length of surgical procedure, hospital stay and complications. Followup included radiographic studies (computerized tomography and/or renal sonography) and patient subjective pain relief, as determined by clinical records and telephone interview.
Results: Nine and 11 procedures were done for nonpolycystic kidney disease and polycystic kidney disease, respectively. Of the 8 patients with polycystic kidney disease 3 underwent repeat procedures. Followup was 3 to 63 months (average 26). All patients with simple cysts who were treated for pain were pain-free at the latest followup. Of the 10 procedures 9 (90%) performed for pain relief in polycystic kidney disease successfully produced immediate pain relief. Pain-free status decreased with time with 7 of 8 (87.5%) pain-free after 6 months, and 5 of 7 (71.4%) at 1, 4 of 6 (66.7%) at 2 and 1 of 4 (25%) at 3 years. A repeat operation successfully relieved recurrent pain in 2 of 3 cases (66.7%). Of the 7 patients with polycystic kidney disease who underwent surgery for pain relief 5 (71%) are currently pain-free.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic renal cyst decortication is an effective minimally invasive treatment for painful simple cysts. It is also effective for short to intermediate pain relief in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. Long-term followup suggests that a repeat procedure may be necessary to maintain adequate control of symptoms in polycystic kidney disease.