Complications of contemporary radical nephrectomy: Comparison of open vs. laparoscopic approach

Matthew D. Shuford, Elspeth M. McDougall, Sam S. Chang, Bonnie J. Lafleur, Joseph A. Smith, Michael S. Cookson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Increasingly, laparoscopy is being employed in the treatment of urologic malignancies. This is most apparent in kidney cancer, where laparoscopic radical nephrectomy is now considered to be a gold standard. Herein, we compared early postoperative morbidity in a contemporary series of open and laparoscopic radical nephrectomies. We reviewed all patients that underwent a radical nephrectomy between October 1999 and May 2001 at our institution. We then compared open radical nephrectomy patients to those undergoing laparoscopic approaches with specific attention to early complications. A total of 74 radical nephrectomies were performed: 41 open, 18 hand-assisted and 15 pure laparoscopic nephrectomies. Overall, complication rates between the open, hand-assist and pure laparoscopic groups were similar (10%, 17% and 12%, respectively, P = 0.133). There was no statistically significant difference in ASA score (P = 0.144), pre-operative hematocrit (P = 0.575) or intra-operative blood loss (P = 0.364). The open nephrectomy group had a statistically larger average tumor size (7.4 cm vs. 4.6 cm; P = 0.005) and younger average age (57 vs. 63; P = 0.019) than the laparoscopic group. Length of hospital stay was significantly shorter in the laparoscopic group (3.6 days vs. 1.7 days; P < 0.0001). Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy has an acceptably low complication rate and compares favorably to open radical nephrectomy. The low rate of complications combined with the advantages of laparoscopic surgery favor a laparoscopic approach for the majority of patients with stage T1 and T2 tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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