Prior open abdominal or renal surgery has been considered a relative contraindication to laparoscopic surgery because of the likelihood of adhesion formation and perinephric scarring, which results in difficulty obtaining access to the peritoneal cavity and during surgical dissection. The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and morbidity of laparoscopic renal surgery in patients at high risk for intra-abdominal or retroperitoneal scarring. Twenty-four patients who underwent laparoscopic renal surgery at our institution gave a history of significant open abdominal or renal surgery. Seven patients had undergone prior open extraperitoneal (N = 6) or percutaneous (N = 1) renal procedures, 10 patients had undergone prior open laparotomy for various reasons, and 7 patients had undergone open pelvic surgery. The mean interval from the prior operation to laparoscopic renal surgery was 16.5 years (range 0.3-44 years). Operative time, estimated blood loss, incidence of complications, perioperative parenteral narcotic use, length of hospitalization convalescence, and degree of intra-abdominal and retroperitoneal scarring were assessed. Patients who developed complications were compared with patients who did not. No difficulty was encountered while obtaining initial access to the peritoneal cavity or retroperitoneal space. No bowel or visceral injuries occurred during Veress needle or trocar placement. The laparoscopic procedure was completed successfully in all cases. The mean operative time was 4.3 (range 2.0-10.9) hours. The mean estimated blood loss was 266 mL (range 50-1200 mL). There were eight complications (overall complication 33%) including three major and five minor complications. Patients who developed complications had a higher total scarring score that those who did not (p = 0.01). For experienced laparoscopic surgeons, laparoscopic renal surgery in patients who have a history of open abdominal or renal surgery can be successful. Access via the transperitoneal or retroperitoneal route can be obtained safely, and the procedure usually can be performed in a timely fashion. However, a relatively high perioperative complication rate can be expected, particularly for those patients with significant intraperitoneal and retroperitoneal scarring.
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