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A Multi-Institutional Study on the Safety and Efficacy of Specimen Morcellation After Laparoscopic Radical Nephrectomy for Clinical Stage T1 or T2 Renal Cell Carcinoma


Introduction and objective

Specimen morcellation during laparoscopic radical nephrectomy (LRN) for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is controversial. We seek to evaluate the safety and efficacy of specimen morcellation and LRN for treatment of presumed malignant renal lesions.


We retrospectively reviewed all patients who underwent LRN at three academic institutions from 1996 to 2007. One hundred eighty-eight patients underwent specimen morcellation after LRN for enhancing solid or cystic renal masses.


LRN was successfully performed on all the patients. Patient age ranged from 36 to 94. One hundred sixty-seven patients were in clinical stage T1, 19 patients T2, and unknown in two. The specimen was manually morcellated within a Cook Lap Sac or Endocatch II bag under laparoscopic or direct observation. On histological review of morcellated specimens, 165 patients were confirmed to have RCC, 17 had an oncocytoma, and 2 had benign cysts. At least 13 patients with RCC were pathologically upgraded to stage T3. Mean operative time was 225 minutes (range 94-650). Mean hospital stay was 2.5 days (range 1-8). In patients with RCC, 11 developed recurrent disease with mean follow-up of 21 months (range 0.3-111). In one patient, a port site recurrence occurred in concert with renal fossa and lymph node metastases.


Intracorporeal mechanical morcellation after LRN appears to be safe and effective in clinical stage T1 and T2 RCC. This supports the use of morcellation as an alternative for intact specimen removal in properly selected patients.

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