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Small bowel obstruction after laparoscopic donor nephrectomy

Background: Laparoscopic live donor nephrectomy has become the procedure of choice for kidney procurement at many centers worldwide. A decrease in postoperative pain and length of stay, a faster return to work, and no difference in morbidity and mortality compared to open nephrectomy have all been reported. However, few data exist regarding the complication of postoperative internal hernia and small bowel obstruction, which is unique to a laparoscopic/transperitoneal approach. Methods: We present three case reports of patients who developed small bowel obstruction from an internal hernia and mesenteric defect after laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. Results: A total of 635 patients underwent laparoscopic donor nephrectomy between March 1996 and August 2001 at our institution. Small bowel obstruction developed in three patients (0.47%) within 1 week postoperatively. Each case involved an internal hernia through a left colon mesenteric defect at the site of nephrectomy. Reoperation was necessary in each case and was associated with a prolonged hospital stay (mean, 22.3 days; range, 6–37). Two patients were managed with laparotomy; one patient underwent a laparoscopically assisted exploration. One patient required an additional open exploration for intraabdominal sepsis and cholecystectomy. Conclusions: Small bowel obstruction from internal hernia following laparoscopic donor nephrectomy is a rare event, but it can lead to significant morbidity in an otherwise healthy patient. These patients may be at higher risk for bowel obstruction given the soft tissue defect remaining after nephrectomy. Vigilance is required when mobilizing the colon to ensure that mesenteric defects are recognized and repaired.

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Regan, J., Cho, E. & Flowers, J. Small bowel obstruction after laparoscopic donor nephrectomy . Surg Endosc 17, 108–110 (2003).

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  • Bowel Obstruction
  • Small Bowel Obstruction
  • Live Donor
  • Prolonged Hospital
  • Internal Hernia