Hand-assisted laparoscopic donor nephrectomy


End-stage renal disease patients may require kidney transplants. Kidney transplants are now performed with more success and precision and live-donor kidney transplants have been common in the U.S. for 35 years. The hand-assisted, laparoscopic donor nephrectomy is a new, minimally invasive technique for removing a kidney from a living donor.

This technique:

  • Requires smaller incisions to remove the kidney from the donor
  • Results in less pain and scarring for the kidney donor
  • Allows the kidney donor a faster post-surgery recovery rate
  • Usually results in a shorter hospital stay than surgery requiring a larger incision
  • The hand-assisted laparoscopic donor nephrectomy method allows minimal disruption to the donor's abdominal wall while removing the organ for transplantation.

Diagram of body after procedureProcedure

The surgery involves the insertion of a laparoscope (surgical microscope) into three to five small incisions in the donor's side. This technique for kidney removal is an improvement on the traditional method of open nephrectomy, which required a 12-inch, muscle-splitting incision and rib removal.

Using precision instruments that are inserted into the four small openings, surgeons prepare the donor's kidney while simultaneously observing a magnified image of the entire process on a TV monitor. When the kidney is ready for removal, surgeons gently remove the kidney through a small opening.


For the donor, the smaller incisions result in less pain after surgery and mean he or she requires less medication during the healing process. The hand-assisted laparoscopic donor nephrectomy method allows the donor to recover quicker, which reduces post-operative hospital stays. Typically, the donor can be discharged home after 24 - 36 hours after the surgery. Donors who undergo laparoscopic procedures benefit through the reduced recovery time. Open surgery patients typically require four to six weeks to recover and have a 10-pound weight lifting restriction for six weeks. Patients can return to work if they can be accommodated with that restriction. Patients who undergo the laparoscopic nephrectomy can return to normal activity within several weeks.

UF Health Difference

UF Health was the first center in Florida and the Southeast to perform this procedure.


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