A review of our first 100 cases of laparoscopic nephrectomy: defining risk factors for complications

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To present the complications from our first 100 cases of laparoscopic nephrectomy, a technically demanding procedure requiring lengthy experience, and to define the risk factors.

Patients and methods

Indications for laparoscopic nephrectomy included patients requiring nephrectomy for benign pathology and those requiring nephroureterectomy for upper tract transitional cell carcinoma confined to the upper ureter and/or renal pelvis. All patients were operated on by one surgeon (D.A.T.) via a transperitoneal route and data on diagnosis, outcome and complications collected prospectively.


The overall complication rate was 18%, of which 3% were major and 15% minor complications. Five cases were converted to open surgery electively. Complications and conversions were associated with a history of pyonephrosis, previous renal surgery, staghorn calculi, polycystic kidney disease, and xanthogranulomatous pyelonephritis. While there was no discernible decline in the decrease in complications with experience, operative duration decreased from a mean of 204 min for the first 20 cases to 108 min for the last 20. Complications and conversions were more closely associated with diagnosis than with the surgeon's experience.


Laparoscopic nephrectomy and nephroureterectomy can be undertaken for a variety of indications with reasonable complication and conversion rates. Although inflammatory conditions increase the difficulty of these procedures, we feel that patients requiring nephrectomy for benign disease should be offered a trial of laparoscopic surgery.

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