Advancements in minimally invasive instrumentation and technique have provided the impetus to performing urologic procedures with reduced perioperative morbidity, shorter hospital stays, and, most importantly, efficacious oncologic results. At multiple centers of excellence, laparoscopic nephroureterectomy (LNU) has evolved into a new standard for the management of upper-tract transitional-cell carcinoma (TCC) that is not amenable to endoscopic resection. An LNU may be performed via a transperitoneal or retroperitoneal approach together with excision of the distal ureter and a bladder cuff. Analysis of present-day studies comparing LNU with open techniques demonstrates equivalent oncologic outcomes. In addition, those patients undergoing LNU fare better than their counterparts having open surgery with respect to hospital stay, analgesic requirements, and convalescence. With multiple options for excision of a cuff of bladder, a consensus has not been established. However, LNU has emerged as the new standard of care for the treatment of upper-tract TCC. Review of the techniques and outcomes of LNU from the minimally invasive urology community are described.
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