"Scarless" Kidney Donation Boosts Patient Satisfaction

University of Maryland researchers found that living donors who donated a kidney that was removed through a single port in the navel report higher satisfaction in several key categories, compared to donors who underwent traditional multiple-port laparoscopic removal. The results were recently published in the Annals of Surgery.

The single port technique has been described as virtually scarless, because nearly the entire incision, once healed, is hidden within the navel. Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine found the single port donation group had significantly improved satisfaction with the cosmetic outcome and the overall donation process. Additionally, this technique was associated with fewer limitations in bending, kneeling or stooping following surgery, and slightly less pain after surgery, compared to the multiple incision laparoscopic approach. The study also confirmed the safety of both procedures as equally safe methods of kidney donation for patients.

Single-port donor nephrectomy, also known as laparoendoscopic single-site (LESS) surgery, has been the standard of care for living kidney donors at the University of Maryland Medical Center for the past three years; however, no objective data previously existed to compare the single-port with the multiple-port laparoscopic techniques. UMMC is one of the first hospitals in the country to consistently use this surgical approach on living donors and has employed the single-port technique in over 200 donors. This technique has now become the standard approach offered to all kidney donors at University of Maryland Medical Center.

The UMMC transplant team is conducting workshops to train other transplant surgeons in the LESS technique, and has authored an updated chapter highlighting this technique in the latest surgical textbook Kidney Transplantation.

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