Background. The left kidney is preferred for live donation. In open live donor nephrectomy, the right kidney is selected if the left kidney has multiple renal arteries or anomalous venous drainage. With laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy (LLDN), there is reluctance to procure the right kidney because of the more difficult exposure and further shortening of the right renal vein (RRV) after a stapled transection. An experience with LLDN is reviewed to determine whether the right kidney should be procured laparoscopically. Methods. From February 1995 to November 1999, 227 patients underwent live donor renal transplants with allografts procured by LLDN. The results of these transplants were analyzed. Results. Of the 227 kidneys transplanted, 17 (7.5%) were right kidneys. In the early experience, three (37.5%) of the eight right renal allografts developed venous thrombosis, two of which had duplicated RRV. Based on these initially unacceptable results, donor evaluation and LLDN techniques were modified. Spiral computerized tomography (CT) replaced conventional angiography to define better the venous anatomy. LLDN was modified in one of three ways: (1) changing the stapler port placement such that the RRV was transected in a plane parallel to the inferior vena cava, (2) relocation of the incision for open division of RRV, or (3) lengthening of the donor RRV with a panel graft constructed of recipient greater saphenous vein. Finally, the recipient operation enjoined complete mobilization of the left iliac vein with transposition lateral to the iliac artery. With these modifications, there were no vascular complications with the subsequent nine right renal allografts (P<0.05). Of the left kidneys transplanted, 31 had multiple renal arteries, 14 had retroaortic or circumaortic veins, 4 had both multiple arteries and venous anomalies, and 1 had a duplicated IVC draining the left renal vein. There were no vascular complications with left renal allografts that had multiple arteries or venous anomalies. Conclusions. LLDN of the left kidney is technically easier. Left kidneys with multiple arteries or anomalous venous drainage are not problematic. The right kidney can be procured with LLDN; however, a rational approach to preoperative angiographic imaging, donor operation, and recipient operation is crucial.
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