Background: Traditionally, a post transplant lymphocele (PTL) is drained by widely opening the wall connecting the lymphocele cavity to the intraperitoneal space via laparotomy. We hypothesize that laparoscopic techniques can be effectively used for the treatment of PTL.Methods: Patients requiring intervention for PTL between 1993 and 2002 were identified via a retrospective review. Results of drainage via laparotomy and laparoscopy were compared.Results: During the study period 685 renal transplants (391 cadaveric, 294 living) were performed. The incidence of lymphocele was 5% [34/685 (36 cases)]. The indications for surgical drainage were local symptoms (69%), graft dysfunction (14%), or both (17%). The mean time to surgical therapy was 4.9 months. Laparoscopic drainage was performed in 25 patients (74%) and open drainage in 9 patients (26%). Open procedures were performed in cases for: previous abdominal surgery (5), undesirable lymphocele characteristics or location (2), or with concomitant open procedures (3). There were no conversions or operative complications in either group. There was no difference in operative time for the laparoscopic group vs the open group (108 ± 6 vs 123 ± 18 min, p = 0.8). Hospital stay was significantly shorter for the laparoscopic group (1.7 ± 0.8 vs 3.8 ± 1.0, p = 0.0007), with 88% of laparoscopic patients being either overnight admissions or same day surgery. Two patients (5%) developed symptomatic recurrences requiring reoperation [1 laparoscopic (4%), 1 open (10%)].Conclusions: Laparoscopic fenestration of a peritransplant lymphocele is a safe and effective treatment. The large majority of patients treated with laparoscopic fenestration were discharged within one day of surgery. Unless contraindications exist, laparoscopy should be considered first-line therapy for the surgical treatment of posttransplant lymphocele.
Lymphocele Laparoscopy Renal transplant Minimally invasive surgery