Purpose: We retrospectively examined the experience of novice laparoscopic surgeons performing hand-assisted laparoscopic radical nephrectomy. The purpose was to determine if urologists with minimal laparoscopic training could perform hand-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomies in a safe and efficient manner. Materials and Methods: The first six hand-assisted laparoscopic radical nephrectomies performed by four different urology residents at the Chicago Lakeside VA hospital were reviewed. The residents included three chief urology residents and one postgraduate year 3 urology resident. None of the residents had taken any laparoscopic course, and all had limited exposure to the hand-assisted technique. In all cases, the residents performed the entire operation. The patients were evaluated for operative time, tumor size, body mass index, and ASA score. Results: All six procedures were completed without conversion to the open technique. The average operating time was 215.8 minutes, and the time from incision to organ removal averaged 140.8 minutes. The average estimated blood loss was 166 mL. Complications included an intraoperative diaphragmatic injury (recognized and repaired laparoscopically) and one postoperative ileus. Conclusion: Hand-assisted laparoscopic radical nephrectomy can be performed safely and efficiently by urologists with minimal laparoscopic experience.
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