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In traditional open surgery, often a portion of the last rib was removed. In recent years, this procedure has been replaced by mini-incision live donor (MILD) nephrectomy and laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. These two procedures reduce the recovery time in the hospital, the time to full recovery and the chance of wound complications.
MILD: Mini-Incision Live Donor Nephrectomy With this procedure the kidney is removed from an incision on the front of the abdomen. The 3-4 inch incision extends from the tip of the lowest rib toward the belly button.
Laparoscopic Kidney Removal Some donors may qualify for an alternate procedure: laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. In this procedure, the kidney is mobilized with the assistance of laparoscopic instruments introduced into the abdomen through three or four ¼- to ½-inch incisions. A 3-inch incision is made around the umbilicus (belly button) to remove the kidney.
A review of the Rhode Island Hospital experience shows nearly identical outcomes for the MILD and laparoscopic donor nephrectomy techniques. Your surgeon can offer further details about the best approach for your operation.
Recovering from surgery