Does mini-incision donor nephrectomy improve quality of life in living kidney donors?

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Living kidney donation helps to avoid or reduce the time period of dialysis and on waiting lists in patients requiring a new organ. Mini-incision donor nephrectomy (MIDN) shows to result in better clinical outcome in comparison with traditional open donor nephrectomy (ODN). This study was performed to evaluate the impact of different surgical procedures on the quality of life (QoL) in patients that underwent donor nephrectomy.


The aim of the study was to detect differences in QoL assessed with the Short Form-36 Version 2 (SF-36v2) questionnaire between MIDN (n = 34) and ODN (n = 36). Furthermore, the development of QoL from prior to surgery until one yr afterwards, as well as outcomes of QoL in comparison with norm-based scores was investigated.


Sixty-one of 70 patients, which is 87% (MIDN: 86%, ODN: 88%) resent a whole set questionnaires. QoL was similar at all time-points (prior to surgery, one wk, three months and one yr) in both groups. A tendency of better QoL in MIDN (Bodily Pain) after one wk was detectable (p = 0.075). Physical Component Summaries (PCS) significantly decreased from prior to surgery until one wk after surgery (p = 0.001) and improved significantly until three months (MIDN: p = 0.006, ODN: p = 0.001) and also until one yr after surgery (p = 0.002). Mental Component Summaries (MCS) were stable throughout the whole investigated time period. In comparison with norm-based scores, MIDN (p = 0.005) and ODN (p = 0.001) showed significantly higher PCS prior to, lower scores one wk after (p = 0.001), similar scores three months after and better scores (MIDN: p = 0.023, ODN: 0.015) one yr after surgery. Mental Component Scores were similar in both prior to and one wk after surgery. After three months and one yr scores were significantly better in MIDN (three months: p = 0.049, one yr: p = 0.037) and ODN (three months: 0.020, one yr: 0.073).


Quality of life after living donor nephrectomy is not influenced by the surgical technique. Nevertheless the standardized instrument of the SF-36v2 Health Survey is a useful, practicable and universally interpretable tool to gain and estimate recovery from surgical procedures in the perioperative period and its development thereafter.

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