Background. Laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy (LDN) is a recently developed procedure, the performance of which needs to be studied. Given the reported advantages in the donors, this study looks at graft outcome and ureteral complications in recipients of kidneys procured by open donor nephrectomy (ODN) versus LDN. Methods. The LDN recipients consisted of 193 patients since 3/27/96. A total of 168 ODN recipients from 1991 to 1998 served as controls. Immunosuppression protocols were similar for both groups. Results. Two-year graft survival for LDN and ODN was 98% and 96%, respectively. Two-year patient survival for LDN and ODN was 98% and 97%, respectively. The incidence of delayed graft function and mean serum creatinine at 3 and 12 months was similar in both groups. However, the number of ureteral complications that required operative repair was significantly higher for LDN recipients compared to ODN recipients, 7.7% (n = 15) vs. 0.6% (n = 1) respectively (P = 0.03). Ureteral stenting was required in an additional 3.1% (n = 6) of LDN and 2.4% (n = 4) of ODN (P = NS). There was, however, a learning curve with time. For the first 130 LDN patients, a total of 20 ureteral complications were recorded, whereas only one occurred in the more recent 63 patients (P = 0.03). Conclusions. The higher ureteral complication rate in LDN recipients has improved over time as technical causes have been identified. We have noted significant improvement in ureteral viability by using the endogastrointestinal anastomosis instrument on the ureter and peri-ureteral tissue. LDN is therefore an excellent alternative to ODN. Identification of hazards unique to this technique is critical before its broader application.
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