Learning Curve for Laparoendoscopic Single-Incision Live Donor Nephrectomy: Implications for Laparoendoscopic Practice and Training

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3 Scopus citations


Background: The learning curve for laparoendoscopic single-incision live donor nephrectomy, which is technically more complex than the multiport, conventional laparoendoscopic approach, is unknown. Patients and Methods: In a retrospective cohort study, we analyzed the learning curve of the initial 114 consecutive single-incision laparoendoscopic nephrectomies performed in nonselected live kidney donors. Results: Median donor body mass index was 26 kg/m2 (range 20-34). In all, 92% of the nephrectomies were performed on the left side; 18% of the recovered kidneys had multiple renal arteries. Cumulative sum (CUSUM) analysis of operating time (OT) demonstrated that the learning curve was achieved after case 61. For the learning curve phase (Group 1 [cases 1-61]) vs the postlearning phase (Group 2 [cases 62-114]), the difference of the mean OT was 20 minutes (p = 0.05). Mean warm ischemic time in the donors was significantly longer during the learning phase (Group 1, 6 minutes; Group 2, 5 minutes; p = 0.04). Rates of conversions to multiport procedures and of donor complications were not significantly different between Groups 1 and 2. For the recipients, we observed delayed graft function in 2 (2%) cases, no technical graft losses; and 1-year death-censored graft survival was 100% (p = n.s. for all comparisons of Group 1 vs 2). Conclusions: Single-incision laparoendoscopic donor nephrectomy had a long learning curve (>60 cases), but resulted in excellent donor and recipient outcomes. The long learning curve has significant implications for the programs and surgeons who contemplate transitioning from multiport to single-incision nephrectomy. Furthermore, our observations are highly relevant for informing the development of training requirements for fellows to be trained in single-incision laparoendoscopic nephrectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-488
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Endourology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • donor nephrectomy
  • learning curve
  • outcomes
  • Single incison laparoendoscopic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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