Robot-assisted Kidney Autotransplantation: A Minimally Invasive Way to Salvage Kidneys

Published:August 06, 2018DOI:



      Kidney autotransplantation (KAT) is the ultimate way to salvage kidneys with complex renovascular, ureteral, or malignant pathologies that are not amenable to in situ reconstruction. A minimally invasive approach could broaden its adoption.


      To describe operative technique, perioperative complications, and early functional outcomes of robot-assisted kidney autotransplantation (RAKAT).

      Design, setting, and participants

      Retrospective review of prospectively collected data regarding consecutive patients undergoing RAKAT between March 2017 and February 2018 at two university hospitals.



      Outcome measurements and statistical analysis

      Technical feasibility, perioperative complications, and early functional results.

      Results and limitations

      Seven patients underwent RAKAT (three male and four female; five left and two right; one totally intracorporeal) for complex ureteral strictures (n = 5), severe left renal vein nutcracker (n = 1), and loin pain hematuria syndrome (n = 1). Two patients underwent bench vascular reconstruction and one patient underwent ex vivo flexible ureterorenoscopy. No patient needed open conversion. Median operative and console time was 370 and 255 min, respectively, with median vascular and ureteral anastomosis time of 28 and 23 min, respectively. Median warm, cold, and rewarming ischemia time was 2, 178, and 44 min, respectively. One major postoperative complication occurred—wound dehiscence needing wound revision (grade 3b). Median hospital stay was 5 d. At 3 mo, all patients were free of indwelling stents, pain, or hematuria. Median serum creatinine at 3 mo was 0.80 mg/dl and median calculated autotransplant glomerular filtration rate did not drop significantly.


      RAKAT is feasible, safe, and results in good functioning of the autotransplant in selected patients with complex ureteral strictures, loin pain hematuria, or severe nutcracker syndrome. Larger studies with longer follow-up are needed to confirm these findings and to test whether RAKAT is feasible for other KAT indications.

      Patient summary

      We describe the first series worldwide of a minimally invasive technique for kidney autotransplantation. Robot-assisted kidney autotransplantation is a safe and feasible approach to prevent nephrectomy for intractable symptoms in selected patients with complex ureteral or renal pathology.


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