Surgical Approaches and Outcomes in Living Donor Nephrectomy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


CONTEXT: The use of living kidney donors is increasing and there are several surgical approaches for donor nephrectomy but it remains unknown which procedure is optimal for the patient and the graft.

OBJECTIVE: To review different surgical techniques for living donor nephrectomy and compare complication rates, warm ischemia time, and delayed graft function.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A systematic review of prospective studies involving surgical complications following living donor nephrectomy was conducted in the MEDLINE/PubMed and EMBASE databases according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P). Baseline data, perioperative and postoperative parameters, and postoperative complications are reported. Overall complication rates between surgical techniques were compared via analysis of variance with post hoc analysis. We included 35 studies involving 6398 patients and representing six different surgical procedures for living donor nephrectomy.

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Hand-assisted laparoscopic donor nephrectomy had a significantly higher overall complication rate compared to open, laparoscopic, retroperitoneoscopic, and laparoendoscopic single-site techniques (p < 0.005). The complication rates were low and no mortality was observed. The main limitation was varying reporting of complications, with only one-third of the studies using the Clavien-Dindo classification.

CONCLUSIONS: No specific surgical approach seems superior in terms of complications, which were generally low. Different factors such as warm ischemia time, blood loss, and surgeon expertise define which surgical approach should be chosen.

PATIENT SUMMARY: We looked at the different surgical methods for removing the kidney from a living kidney donor. Overall, the different surgical techniques were similar in terms of complications and no donors died in the studies we reviewed. The choice of procedure depends on multiple factors such as the expertise of the surgeon and the surgical center.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Urology Focus
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1795-1801
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Kidney


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