Laparoscopic surgery has become a preferred treatment option for the management of upper urinary tract pathology. Large series of complex urologic operations have been published, with favorable outcomes. Although the early experience with urologic laparoscopy consisted almost exclusively of transperitoneal procedures, some surgeons prefer the retroperitoneal approach. The debate of retroperitoneal versus transperitoneal laparoscopy for upper tract pathology is complex because comparative and randomized studies are lacking. In contrast to the retroperitoneal approach, transperitoneal laparoscopic procedures allow for a larger working space, adequate maneuverability, and the presence of familiar anatomic landmarks. This article highlights our experiences and approaches to major laparoscopic upper urinary tract surgery for benign and malignant conditions. A summary of the published literature as it pertains to the transperitoneal approach also is presented.
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