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Research Article

Laparoscopic nephrectomy.

BMJ 1993; 307 doi: (Published 04 December 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;307:1488
  1. K Kerbl,
  2. R V Clayman,
  3. E M McDougall,
  4. L R Kavoussi
  1. Department of Surgery (Division of Urology), Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110.


    Since the first clinical operation in June 1990 laparoscopic nephrectomy for benign renal disease has become widely accepted. Although the laparoscopic operation takes much longer than open surgery, there are considerable reductions in the length of postoperative hospital stay and the time taken to return to normal activities and to full recovery. Major complications were relatively common in early operations, but with more experience morbidity has been reduced. Laparoscopic nephrectomy for malignant renal disease is still controversial, largely because of the fear of release of malignant tissue into the abdominal cavity during the morcellation and retrieval of the diseased kidney. To prevent this, the kidney is removed intact through a 5-7 cm incision. Long term follow up is needed, however, before we will know whether the laparoscopic procedure is effective in preventing recurrence of cancer. New developments have improved various technical aspects of the operation, but stringent assessment of new techniques is necessary so that the medical community can decide which procedures should become routine practice.