Objectives: The intraoperative complexity of laparoscopic partial nephrectomy (LPN) for upper pole renal tumors is recognized. We report on the technical feasibility and operative outcomes of LPN for upper pole tumors (UPLPN) and lower pole tumors (LPLPN), and open partial nephrectomy (UPOPN) for upper pole tumors. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our database of LPNs performed by a single surgeon from October 2002 to February 2006. All solitary, upper and lower pole tumors in patients with a normal contralateral kidney were included. The perioperative outcomes were assessed. UPOPNs performed in the same institution by a separate surgeon were analyzed and compared separately with the UPLPN group. Results: Three groups, UPLPN (20 patients), LPLPN (33 patients), and UPOPN (24 patients), were analyzed. The UPLPN and LPLPN groups had similar perioperative outcomes. The intraoperative and postoperative major complications were also comparable between the UPLPN and LPLPN groups (17% versus 12%, P = 0.68 and 22% versus 6%, P = 0.07, respectively). The mean pathologic tumor size was larger (3.2 versus 2.3 cm, P = 0.05) and the mean operative time significantly shorter (187 versus 244 minutes, P = 0.02) in the UPOPN group than in the UPLPN group. The UPOPN group had a trend toward fewer intraoperative complications compared with the UPLPN group (4% versus 17%, P = 0.17). The final pathologic surgical margins were negative in all three groups. Conclusions: LPN for upper pole renal tumors is technically feasible and may have comparable outcomes to LPN for lower pole tumors. However, performing open nephron-sparing surgery is still the standard of care because it may offer fewer complications and reduce the risk of ischemic damage to the kidney.
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