Objectives. To assess feasibility of laparoscopic nephrectomy completed entirely by way of the vagina in the porcine model. Methods. Six transvaginal laparoscopic nephrectomies were performed in female farm pigs. Two acute and two 1-week survival animals were used for the study. Before killing the survival animals, a second transvaginal laparoscopic nephrectomy was performed on the remaining renal unit. For one renal unit, the laparoscopic nephrectomy was completed entirely by way of the vagina. In five renal units, a single, 5-mm transabdominal trocar for the laparoscope was required to facilitate visualization. Results. The operative time for the procedure completed entirely by way of the vagina was 360 minutes, and the mean operative time for the procedures requiring placement of a single 5-mm transabdominal trocar was 210 minutes. In 5 cases, dissection, control of the renal pedicle, and extraction of the kidney were successfully completed using a transvaginal approach. In 1 acute case, an uncontrollable vascular injury occurred during placement of the Endo-GIA stapler, resulting in exsanguination. In all other cases, the mean blood loss was less than 30 mL, and no significant perioperative complications were noted. Both survival pigs had normal bowel and bladder function before being killed. Conclusions. Complete transvaginal laparoscopic dissection and nephrectomy is feasible in the porcine model using a single, 5-mm abdominal trocar for visualization. A completely transvaginal laparoscopic nephrectomy was performed once, but limitations imposed by the porcine anatomy and by the currently available instrumentation made the procedure very cumbersome. Additional development of this technique in animal models and improved instrumentation is needed before clinical assessment is warranted.
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