Vena cava thrombectomy and primary repair after radical nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma: Single-center experience

Brian T. Helfand, Norm D. Smith, James M. Kozlowski, Mark K. Eskandari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Inferior vena cava (IVC) reconstruction for locally advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) includes resection with and without interposition grafting, patch graft, or primary repair. The proposed benefits of lateral venorrhaphy and primary repair are avoidance of foreign material, a more expeditious repair, and preservation of lower extremity venous outflow. Methods: A single-center retrospective review of 22 patients with RCC and IVC tumor thrombus treated with radical nephrectomy, lateral venorrhaphy, thrombectomy, and primary vena cava repair between July 2002 and June 2009 was carried out. Demographic data, diagnostic information, radiographic cross-sectional imaging, and procedural outcomes were examined. Results: Among the 13 men and nine women, the mean age was 62.1 years (42-83); mean tumor size was 9.8 cm (3-17 cm), and 90% (n = 18) of the cases with RCC were identified pathologically as clear cell adenocarcinoma; on the basis of the classification system adopted by Neves, level I was for 50% (n = 11), level II for 32% (n = 7), level III for 9% (n = 2), and level IV for 9% (n = 2) of the patients. All patients underwent en bloc radical nephrectomy with tumor thrombus removal and primary IVC repair. Mean total operative time was 547.9 ± 138.5 minutes, whereas mean IVC cross-clamp time was 10.8 minutes (6-29 minutes). There were no intraoperative deaths or pulmonary embolism and all IVC margins were found to be pathologically negative. Postoperative complications included one pulmonary embolism, one exacerbation of chronic lymphedema, and two cases of new onset erectile dysfunction. Mean follow-up was 36.4 ± 23.2 months (6-92 months). There were no radiographic or clinically significant changes in mean IVC diameter during follow-up. Five late deaths (23%) occurred as a result of metastatic RCC over a mean period of 24 months (range, 12-48), but without any local recurrences. Conclusion: For advanced RCC with tumor thrombus extension into the IVC, lateral venorrhaphy and primary IVC repair avoids complicated caval reconstructions and results in high patency rates with a low local tumor recurrence rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-43
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of vascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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