Laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy is technically feasible. The operation has evolved over the last 5 years and is greatly improved compared with the procedure originally described. Advantages to the donor when compared with the standard open operation are decreased postoperative pain, shorter hospitalization, a quicker recuperation, an earlier return to driving, and an earlier return to employment. These improvements have resulted in fewer lost wages and a lower financial burden for donors. Live donor nephrectomy also provides improved cosmetic results. It successfully removes many of the disincentives to live kidney donation and has resulted in an increased willingness of individuals to donate their kidneys. The operative risk seems to be equivalent to that of the open donor operation performed through a flank approach. Although there is no financial advantage of the laparoscopic operation in terms of hospital costs, the increase seen in live donor transplantation may result in long-term cost savings overall. Kidneys procured laparoscopically function well in recipients in the short and long term. There is no increased risk for rejection or technical complications, and the recipient's length of hospitalization is unaffected. The laparoscopic donor operation does not have any apparent deleterious effect on the recipient. The procedure is being adopted rapidly by transplant centers around the world and has been performed at more than 100 centers on five continents. The authors believe that laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy will become the standard of care in the not too distant future.
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