Objectives To determine the technical feasibility and reproducibility of pure natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) transvaginal nephrectomy using NOTES-specific instrumentation, with no transabdominal assistance. Materials and Methods Five female farm pigs (mean weight 45 kg) had a right NOTES nephrectomy, using a single-channel gastroscope in the first three pigs and a dual-channel gastroscope in the remaining two. The peritoneal cavity was accessed through the posterior fornix of the vagina. Dissection was started at the lower pole of the kidney, and the ureter was retracted laterally and followed towards the hilum. An XL articulated 60 cm endo-GIA stapler (US Surgical, Norwalk, CO, USA), inserted transvaginally via a separate vaginal incision, was used for tissue retraction and renal hilar transection. The kidney was freed, entrapped in an impermeable sac, and extracted intact transvaginally. Results All five procedures were successful with no addition of a transabdominal laparoscopic port or open conversion. The total operative duration decreased from 200 min in the first pig to 60 min in the last (mean 113 min); the mean blood loss was <50 mL, the mean kidney length was 13.9 cm and the weight was 142 g. There were no intraoperative complications; at autopsy, there was no pelvic or bowel injury. Conclusions Pure NOTES transvaginal nephrectomy is feasible in the porcine model. It has the potential of a less morbid approach, providing truly scar-less surgery. Further development of instrumentation is necessary.
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