Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 399, Issue 5, pp 543–551 | Cite as

Comparison of the laparoscopic versus open live donor nephrectomy: an overview of surgical complications and outcome

  • H. Fonouni
  • A. Mehrabi
  • M. Golriz
  • M. Zeier
  • B. P. Müller-Stich
  • P. Schemmer
  • J. Werner
Review Article



Kidney transplantation (KTx) is considered to be the treatment of choice for end stage renal disease. One of the most challenging dilemmas in KTx is the shortage of suitable organs. The live donor nephrectomy is considered a unique operation performed on healthy donors, which provides a superior outcome in the recipients.

Several surgical techniques have been developed so far to minimize donor postoperative complications as much as possible without compromising the quality of the kidney. The development of a minimally invasive surgery, laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy (LDN), was based on this concept.

Materials and Methods

By searching the pubmed, we reviewed the most evidence based clinical studies specifically randomized clinical trials and meta-analyses to give an overview of the efficacy and safety of LDN versus ODN.


The advantages of a LDN vs. a conventional open donor nephrectomy (ODN) are a smaller incision, better wound cosmetics, a lower rate of incisional hernia and adhesion, less postoperative pain, shorter hospitalization, and earlier return to work. Some concerns are longer operative and warm ischemic times, long-term learning curve for surgeons, and the risk of more serious complications than during an ODN.


Overall, the review of literature shows that a LDN provides less postoperative pain, a shorter hospital stay, a shorter period of rehabilitation, and earlier return to normal work and physical activities in comparison to the conventional open flank nephrectomy but is comparable to the mini muscle splitting approach. The complication rate is generally lower in centers accustomed to performing LDNs; however, complications can be life threatening and could impose significant costs to the health system. Weighing the longer operation and warm ischemic time, as well as the risk of more serious complications against the advantages of a LDN mandates a precise indication. The risk-benefit assessment for choosing one procedure should be done meticulously. Even though the short-term graft function in both techniques is comparable, there is a lack of enough long-term outcome analyses. Finally, in any transplant center, the cost of the laparoscopic procedure should be considered.


Live donor Open nephrectomy Laparoscopic nephrectomy 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Fonouni
    • 1
  • A. Mehrabi
    • 1
  • M. Golriz
    • 1
  • M. Zeier
    • 2
  • B. P. Müller-Stich
    • 1
  • P. Schemmer
    • 1
  • J. Werner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation SurgeryUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Department of NephrologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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