Robotic donor nephrectomy: optimizing outcomes beyond the limitations of laparoscopy

Franklin C. Olumba, Neeta Vachharajani, Jennifer Yu, Meranda Scherer, Sarah Matson, Angela L. Hill, Amen Kiani, Yiing Lin, Majella M.B. Doyle, William C. Chapman, Jason R. Wellen, Adeel S. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Robotic donor nephrectomy (RDN) has emerged as a safe alternate to laparoscopic donor nephrectomy (LDN), offering improved visualization, instrument dexterity and ergonomics. There is still concern about how to safely transition from LDN to RDN. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 150 consecutive living donor operations (75 LDN and 75 RDN) at our center, comparing the first 75 RDN’s with the last 75 LDN’s performed prior to the initiation of the robotic transplant program. Operative times and complications were used as surrogates of efficiency and safety, respectively, to estimate the learning curve with RDN. Results: RDN was associated with a longer total operative time (RDN 182 vs LDN 144 min; P < 0.0001) but a significantly shorter post-operative length of stay (RDN 1.8 vs LDN 2.1 days; P = 0.0213). Donor complications and recipient outcomes were the same between both groups. Learning curve of RDN was estimated to be about 30 cases. Conclusions: RDN is a safe alternate to LDN with acceptable donor morbidity and no negative impact on recipient outcomes even during the early part of the RDN learning curve. Surgeon preferences for the robotic approach compared to traditional laparoscopy will require further scrutiny to improve ergonomics and operative efficiency. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7511-7519
Number of pages9
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Donor nephrectomy
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Living donation
  • Operative learning curve
  • Robotic surgery
  • Surgical education


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