Objectives: To evaluate our laparoscopic radical nephrectomy (LRN) series to determine whether any significant increases have occurred in operative morbidity when resecting large (7 cm or greater) renal masses. LRN is becoming the reference standard for treating suspicious renal masses not amenable to nephron-sparing surgery. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 164 consecutive patients who had undergone laparoscopic radical nephrectomy performed for suspicious renal masses by two surgeons from February 2000 and December 2006. After institutional review board approval, we reviewed the patient charts to determine whether patients with 7-cm or larger lesions had significant differences in age, body mass index, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, operative time, estimated blood loss, conversion rate, positive margin rate, postoperative creatinine, and hematocrit compared with patients with lesions smaller than 7 cm. Results: The data from 164 patients were reviewed. Of these 164 patients, 124 had less than 7-cm masses and 40 had lesions 7 cm or larger. The mean tumor size in the less than 7-cm group was 4.2 cm (range 1.8 to 6.9) and was 9.2 cm (range 7 to 14) in the 7-cm or larger group. The patients with large tumors had a significantly longer operative time, greater estimated blood loss, and increase in postoperative serum creatinine than those with smaller tumors but all other perioperative variables were similar. Two conversions to open radical nephrectomy occurred in both groups. Conclusions: Our data have clearly shown that larger tumors can safely be resected with transperitoneal laparoscopic nephrectomy. Open nephrectomy for large tumors can be associated with increased morbidity and the use of LRN could minimize this increased risk. Urologists with laparoscopic experience should consider expanding their indication for LRN.
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