Background and Purpose: Specimen morcellation during laparoscopic radical nephrectomy for renal-cell carcinoma is controversial, and supporting literature remains sparse. We seek to evaluate the safety and efficacy of morcellation for specimen removal after laparoscopic radical nephrectomy for management of renal lesions of malignant potential at a single institution. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of all patients who underwent laparoscopic radical nephrectomy at Northwestern Memorial and Evanston Hospital from 2001 to 2006. Twenty-two patients were identified who underwent specimen morcellation for extraction after laparoscopic nephrectomy that was performed for enhancing solid or cystic renal masses. Results: Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy was performed on all the patients. Patient age ranged from 36 to 96 years old. All patients were clinical stage T1N0M 0. The specimen was mechanically morcellated within Cook Lap Sac under direct and laparoscopic vision. Average tumor size after morcellation was 3.0 cm. On histologic review of the morcellated specimen, 18 patients were confirmed to have renal-cell carcinoma, 2 had an oncocytoma, and 2 had benign cysts. One patient with renal-cell carcinoma had a pathologic upgrade to stage T3b. Average operating time was 268 minutes (range 110 to 389 min). With the exception of the patient who became anephric after nephrectomy, average hospital stay was 2.6 days. A mean clinical and radiographic follow-up of 434 days failed to show any known disease progression or port site recurrence in patients with renal-cell carcinoma. Conclusions: Intracorporeal, mechanical morcellation after laparoscopic radical nephrectomy appears to be safe and effective in clinical stage T1 renal-cell carcinoma. This study adds to current literature that promotes the use of morcellation as an alternative for intact specimen removal in properly selected patients. Further prospective studies are necessary to show long-term oncologic outcomes.
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