Effect of robotic assistance on the "learning curve" for laparoscopic hand-assisted donor nephrectomy

S. Horgan, C. Galvani, M. V. Gorodner, G. R. Jacobsen, F. Moser, A. Manzelli, J. Oberholzer, M. P. Fisichella, D. Bogetti, G. Testa, H. N. Sankary, E. Benedetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Background: The number of living-related donor kidney transplantations have increased since the advent of minimally invasive surgery. Robotic technology has emerged as a promising alternative to laparoscopic techniques. The authors reviewed their institution experience with robotic hand-assisted donor nephrectomies (RHADNs). Methods: Between August 2000 and April 2006, 273 robotically assisted left donor nephrectomies were performed using a hand-assisted technique. Prospectively collected information for 214 patients regarding complications, hospital stay, blood loss, warm ischemia time, operative time, and outcomes is presented. Results: The cohort of donors included 110 men and 104 women with a mean age of 36 years (range, 18-61 years). These donors included 86 African Americans, 46 Caucasians, 74 Hispanics, and 8 of other races. Left renal artery anomalies were found in 61 patients (29%). Four patients underwent conversion to open surgery. The hospital stay was 2.3 days (range, 1-8 days), the blood loss 82 ml (range, 10-1,500 ml), and the mean warm ischemia time 98 s (range, 50-200 s). The operative time was 201 min (range, 100-320 min) for the first 74 cases, 129 min (range, 65-240 min) for the second 70 cases, and 103 min for the last 70 cases (p < 0.001), for an overall average of 150 min. Complications decreased significantly after the first 74 cases. The 1-year patient survival rate was 100%, and the 1-year graft survival rate was 98%. The average recipient creatinine at 6 months was 1.4 mg/dl. Conclusions: Specific changes in operative technique over time have improved patient safety and diminished complications with RHADN. Currently, RHADN can be performed expeditiously with a minimal rate of complications and conversion to open procedure by a surgical team with appropriate training and experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1512-1517
Number of pages6
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Donor nephrectomy
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Learning curve
  • Robotic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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