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Training Level

Resident PGY 2


Henry Ford Hospital


Background: Following the rapid advancements in minimally invasive urology, living donor robotic-assisted kidney transplantation (RAKT) has developed into a feasible alternative to open kidney transplantation (OKT). The procedure has been performed in multiple international programs, but a relative dearth of experience exists in the US. In this investigation, we compare RAKT to OKT using a propensity score analysis, to elucidate the safety and feasibility of RAKT as a suitable alternative to OKT. Methods: A retrospective review of 101 living kidney transplants (36 RAKT, 65 OKT), which occurred between January 2016 and June 2018, was conducted. Selection for RAKT was based on Robot availability. Recipient and donor demographic variable were collected, in addition to perioperative parameters. A propensity score analysis was conducted, matching for recipient age, gender, body mass index, race, pre-operative dialysis, preoperative serum creatinine, panel reactive antibody, and donor age. Primary outcomes assessed included perioperative factors such as estimated blood loss (EBL), cold ischemic time (CIT), warm ischemic time (WIT), operative time, as well as several patient outcomes including, length of stay, narcotics consumed on postoperative days one and two, and change in serum creatinine (SCr) at five time points (day 3, day 7, day 14, 6 months, and 1 year). Final analysis included 35 patients in each group. Results: Recipients’ (N=101) mean age was 49 years (range 19-74), with RAKT recipients slightly younger than OKT recipients (46 vs 51 years). 61 recipients were male and 62 white (29 Black, 10 other). Average recipient BMI was 29 (range 20-40), with equivalent BMIs in RAKT and OKT subsets. Following propensity score analysis, RAKT recipients demonstrated significantly greater WIT (49 vs 38 minutes, p<0.001) and less EBL (62.5 vs 150 mL, p<0.001). However, total operative time and overall length of stay were not significantly different in the groups. Postoperative narcotics consumed on postoperative days one and two were similar between the groups (31.8 vs 32.3 morphine equivalents). Additionally, SCr was evaluated at days 3, 7, and 14 as well as 6 months and 1 year, without significant differences between the groups. Conclusion: RAKT offers an important minimally invasive alternative to OKT, with a short learning curve, and similar graft and patient outcomes. Notably, this study compares RAKT to OKT with a heterogeneous study population, using propensity scoring. The largest limitation of this study is a small sample size. Interestingly, despite the significantly longer WIT in RAKT, we found an equivalence of SCr between groups in the early and intermediate postoperative period. Although the small sample size limits our ability to detect differences in graft and patient outcomes, trends demonstrate shorter lengths of stay, shorter operative times, and smaller amounts of blood loss for RAKT recipients. Additionally, trends demonstrate fewer narcotics administered by the second postoperative day. Similar to the advent of laparoscopic technology in living donor nephrectomy, early findings in RAKT demonstrate a safe and reasonable alternative for living donor kidney transplantation in various populations.

Presentation Date


Robotic-Assisted Versus Open Techniques for Living Donor Kidney Transplant Recipients: A Comparison Using Propensity Score Analysis