Background and Purpose: Laparoscopic retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (L-RPLND) has been reported as efficacious for staging of the retroperitoneum in patients with stage I nonseminomatous germ-cell testis tumors (NSGCT). However, reports are limited to a few centers, and this procedure has yet to be widely accepted as an alternative to open retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (O-RPLND). Thus, we compared our contemporary open and laparoscopic experience with RPLND. Patients and Methods: A retrospective chart review identified 28 patients who underwent either open (N = 6) or laparoscopic (N = 22) RPLND for clinical stage I NSGCT since 2000. Each patient received the appropriate modified template dissection. Perioperative demographic data, histologic nodal status, and recurrence data were evaluated. The mean follow-up was similar in the two groups. Results: The mean operative time was not significantly different (313 minutes for L-RPLND v 284 minutes for O-RPLND). However, L-RPLND did have a significantly shorter hospitalization (1.2 v 8.5 days). Significantly more lymph nodes were removed with O-LPLND than with L-RPLND (mean 33 v 17). There was a single recurrence outside the modified template after both L-RPLND and O-RPLND and one within-the-template recurrence in the O-RPLND group. Conclusions: The L-RPLND is associated with less blood loss and a shorter hospital stay than O-RPLND, whereas the lymph-node yield of O-RPLND is greater. However, during the critical early follow-up period, the oncologic effectiveness and morbidity of L-RPLND for clinical stage I NSGCT appears similar to that of O-RPLND.
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