Less-Invasive Procedure Brings More Kidney Donations
"We're just at the beginning of the surge of either related or emotionally related donors, because the laparoscopy gives so many benefits we couldn't offer donors before," says Arieh Shalhav, MD, who also reviewed the study for WebMD. Shalhav is associate professor of urology at Indiana University School of Medicine, and a urologist at Methodist Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis.
In the laparoscopic nephrectomy, surgeons make a 2 1/2-inch incision near the navel, along with four small holes through which instruments are inserted. The laparoscope, an instrument that houses a miniature camera that allows surgeons to see what they are doing on a video screen, is inserted through one of the holes. The surgical instruments are inserted through the others. The surgeons disconnect the kidney from the donor, wrap it in a plastic bag, and slide it out of the small incision. It is then transferred to the recipient.
Researchers also found that results of this laparoscopic surgery were slightly better than those of traditional surgery, with nearly 95% of the kidneys still functioning three years after they were implanted, compared to 91% with the traditional method.