Objectives: Adoption of laparoscopic partial nephrectomy (LPN) has been limited by lack of reliable hemostatic techniques. We evaluated radiofrequency coagulation (RFC) in obtaining hemostasis during LPN for small renal masses. Methods: Over 4 years LPN was performed by a retroperitoneal approach in 11 patients with solitary, predominantly exophytic renal tumors. A retroperitoneal approach was used in all patients. The renal hilum was not exposed. RF energy was delivered to coagulate the lesion and a margin of normal parenchyma. Tumors were excised together with at least a 0.5-cm margin of normal parenchyma, with the use of ultrasonic shears. Results: Mean tumor size was 2.2 cm (range, 1.5 to 3.0). Mean operative time was 222 minutes (range, 130 to 305 minutes) and mean blood loss was 51 mL (range, 10 to 200 mL). During excision bleeding from the cut renal surface was minimal, and structure of the cortex and medulla still could be clearly distinguished after coagulation. No serious complications such as uncontrolled bleeding or urine leakage occurred. One patient had a thermal burn develop at the site of needle electrode insertion and hydronephrosis caused by pyeloureteral junction (PUJ) stricture. In follow-up, ranging from 8 to 53 months, no local recurrence or distant metastasis was detected by computed tomography. Conclusions: Hemostatic capability of RFC is excellent, improving visibility and ease of operation during LPN, and eliminating need for hilar clamping. Further experience and advancement of RF technology will be needed for the application of this method to larger, centrally located tumors.
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