Introduction: To describe a clampless approach made possible by creating an avascular plane of tissue with radiofrequency ablation. Laparoscopic partial nephrectomy is slowly gaining acceptance as a method to treat small (<4 cm) and select moderate (<7 cm) renal masses. The intricacies of laparoscopic suturing, which result in prolonged warm ischemia times, have delayed the widespread acceptance of this technique among urologists. Laparoscopic suturing to close the collecting system was done using the da Vinci robot. Technical Considerations: An avascular plane of tissue from coagulation necrosis was achieved with the Habib 4X radiofrequency ablation device and the Rita 1500X generator. Typically, we used a power setting of 50 W but have found settings as low as 25 W necessary to provide hemostasis for larger vessels. The tumor was then sharply excised with a negative margin using robotic scissors and electrocautery to facilitate tissue cutting. Retrograde injection of methylthioninium chloride and saline through an externalized ureteral catheter allowed for precise sutured closure of the collecting system. FloSeal and BioGlue were then applied, making surgical bolsters or parenchymal sutures unnecessary. Intraoperative histologic evaluation of the surgical margin and repeat resection of the tumor bed was possible because the renal hilum was not clamped, and no warm ischemia was used. Conclusions: This technique, which combines the improving technologies of robotic surgery, intraoperative laparoscopic ultrasonography, and radiofrequency ablation, might make more surgeons comfortable with the intricacies of laparoscopic suturing and eliminate prolonged warm ischemia times. Overall, this method should result in more patients being able to undergo minimally invasive laparoscopic partial nephrectomy.
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