Background. Hand-assisted laparoscopic donor nephrectomy (HALDN) has rapidly become the best alternative to open nephrectomy for living kidney donation. As more centers continue to adopt the laparoscopic technique, the safety of the initial transplants must be ensured while ascending the learning curve (LC). This study looks to determine the safety of HALDN and to describe the results of the LC in our center.
Methods. We conducted a retrospective review of 500 HALDNs performed in our center from July 2003 to July 2017. We analyzed demographic and perioperative characteristics and complications during the first postoperative month. We divided HALDNs into 2 groups: before and after completing the LC (50 nephrectomies). For each group, we assessed operating room time, estimated blood loss, length of stay, and complication and conversion rates.
Results. A total of 500 HALDNs were performed in the study period. Of those, 454 were analyzed in the 2 groups. The median operating room time was 2 hours, length of stay was 2 days, and blood loss was 50 cc. The overall rate of complication was 6.8%. There were significant differences between the 2 groups in operating time, blood loss, and length of stay (P < .05). No differences were found in terms of complication (P 1⁄4 .42) and con- version (P 1⁄4 .28) rates.
Conclusion. There was a significant decrease in operating time, blood loss, and length of stay in patients who underwent laparoscopic donor nephrectomy by an experienced lapa- roscopist. However, no differences were found in complication and conversion rates, which suggests that improvement in surgical training can be accomplished without altering the donor safety.