Objectives: We evaluated whether the surgical approach during the implementation of a robotic kidney surgery program influenced perioperative and oncologic outcomes. Methods: We prospectively evaluated a single institution experience with minimally invasive partial nephrectomy between 2006 and 2010. The study cohort comprised 86 consecutively treated patients who underwent laparoscopic partial nephrectomy (LPN, N = 59) or robotic-assisted (RPN, N = 27) partial nephrectomy by a single surgeon. Results: There was no difference between the LPN and RPN cohort in terms of gender, age, operative side, American Society of Anesthesiology score, or preoperative estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). An early unclamping technique was used for 22 (82%) patients in the RPN cohort and 6 (10%) patients in the LPN cohort. (P < 0.001). Warm ischemia time was lower in the RPN cohort (mean 18.5 vs. 28.0 min, P = <0.001) as result of majority undergoing early unclamping. There was no difference in operative time, estimated blood loss, length of stay, transfusion rate, positive surgical margin, or postoperative decrease in eGFR. There was no difference in mean eGFR decrease after early unclamping (16%) versus traditional clamping (22%); however, 11 (29%) patients had greater than 50% decrease in eGFR after traditional clamping versus 0 patients after early unclamping (P = 0.014). Conclusion: Patients undergoing RPN during implementation of a robotic kidney surgery program when compared with LPN appear to have equivalent perioperative outcomes and oncologic efficacy. RPN patients had surgery later in our minimally invasive partial nephrectomy experience, and these results may not be generalizable to laparoscopic and/or robotic naïve surgeons.
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