Objectives. To apply retroperitoneoscopy-assisted nephroureterectomy (RTN) and examine its benefit compared with traditional open nephroureterectomy. The reference standard of treatment for upper urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma is standard total nephroureterectomy (STN) with excision of a bladder cuff. Methods. Retroperitoneoscopic radical nephrectomy was performed, followed by open distal ureterectomy with excision of a bladder cuff. The specimen was removed en bloc from the lower pararectal incision that was used during distal ureterectomy. From January 1999, 17 patients with upper urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma underwent this procedure at our institution. For comparison, the most recent 17 STNs were also reviewed. Results. The operative time was longer in the RTN group than in the STN group but not to a significant extent (239.5 versus 286.8 minutes; P = 0.2663). On the other hand, the estimated blood loss, duration to potential discharge, and recovery to normal activities were significantly reduced in the RTN group (151.1 versus 299.6 minutes, 2.7 versus 4.2 days, and 15.9 versus 19.3 days; P = 0.0262, 0.0479, and 0.0363, respectively). From an oncologic standpoint, local recurrence occurred in 1 patient of the RTN group and 4 patients of the STN group (median follow-up of 8.8 and 23.0 months, respectively). No significant difference was detected in the disease-free survival rate between the two groups (P = 0.6775). Conclusions. RTN can make total nephroureterectomy less invasive. From an oncologic standpoint, although it revealed a disease-free survival rate comparable with the standard open procedure with limited follow-up, further follow-up of additional cases with simultaneous extended lymphadenectomy is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of this procedure.
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