Background and Purpose: The optimal approach for management of the distal ureter and bladder cuff (DUBC) during laparoscopic nephroureterectomy (LNU) for upper-tract transitional-cell carcinoma (TCC) is controversial. We describe our contemporary experience with LNU and compare several approaches to the DUBC. Patients and Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on 36 patients undergoing LNU. Three approaches to the DUBC were used: Open resection (OR), complete laparoscopic dissection and suture reconstruction (LR), and laparoscopic dissection with DUBC stapling (LS). Patient demographics and intraoperative, perioperative, and pathologic variables were compared. Estimated 2-year recurrence-free survival (RFS) was calculated. Results: A total of 36 patients were analyzed: 10 OR, 12 LR, and 14 LS. The mean age was 69.6 years with a mean follow-up of 15 months. The LR and LS groups had significantly shorter operative times compared with the OR group (163 and 152 vs 276 minutes, respectively (P<0.05). The LR group had the shortest mean length of stay compared with the OR and LS groups (2.0 vs 3.5 and 2.7 days, respectively, P<0.05). No patient had a complete ureteral orifice, but a cystoscopically appreciable remnant of the resected ureteral orifice was noted in 50% of the LS group vs none with the LR and OR groups (P<0.05). The estimated 2-year RFS was 65% for the entire cohort with no significant differences among groups. Conclusions: Complete laparoscopic resection of the DUBC is feasible, particularly in low-stage, low-grade upper tract TCC and provides benefits such as shorter operative times and length of stay compared with an open bladder cuff excision.
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