Purpose: The safety, benefits and usefulness of laparoscopic partial nephrectomy have been demonstrated in the pediatric population. We describe our technique, and determine the safety and feasibility of robot assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy based on our initial experience. Materials and methods: We retrospectively reviewed robot assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy performed at our institution between 2002 and 2005. The technique was conducted via a transperitoneal approach with the da Vinci Surgical System using standard laparoscopic procedural steps. Clinical indicators of outcomes included estimated blood loss, complications, in hospital narcotic use and length of stay. Results: Robot assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy was completed successfully in 9 cases. Mean patient age was 7.2 years and mean follow-up was 6 months. Mean operative time was 275 minutes and mean estimated blood loss was 49 mL. Operative times improved significantly with experience. Overall patients had a mean hospitalization of 2.9 days and required 1.3 mg morphine per kg. All patients had a normal remaining renal moiety confirmed on Doppler ultrasound. The only complication was an asymptomatic urinoma discovered on ultrasound, which was treated with percutaneous drainage and ultimately resolved. Conclusions: Our initial experience shows the safety and feasibility of robot assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy in children. Operative time decreases with experience. The enhanced visualization and dexterity of a robotic system potentially offer improved efficiency and safety over standard laparoscopy. Robot assisted laparoscopy is an option for partial nephrectomy and may become the minimally invasive treatment of choice.
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