Background: Conventional laparoscopic adrenalectomy (LA) is the gold standard procedure for benign adrenal tumors. Laparoendoscopic single-site adrenalectomy (LESS-A) has been developed as an extension of standard laparoscopic minimally invasive procedures.
Methods: This retrospective study compared the first experience of one surgeon with 70 LESS-A to 140 LA cases with respect to evaluating the influence of the inexperience on surgical outcomes and to assess this surgeon’s learning curve for LESS-A.
Results: Age, gender, BMI, percentage of patients with prior abdominal surgery, tumor laterality, and tumor size were all comparable between the two groups. There were no statistically significant differences in any surgical outcomes, including mean operative time, pneumoperitoneum time, estimated blood loss, transfusion requirements, hemoglobin decrease at postoperative day 1, analgesic requirements, postoperative day of oral intake, conversion rate, or morbidity between the two groups. The one exception was hospital stay. There were no mortalities or reoperations in either group. The morbidity rates in the LESS-A group and LA group were 4.2 and 6.4 %, respectively (p = 0.528). LESS-A appears to have a steep learning curve and the operative time of the initial 70 cases decreased markedly and remained stable when the experience level exceeded 12 cases. There was no morbidity or conversion in these first 12 LESS-A cases. Multiple regression analysis revealed that surgeon experience (p = 0.008) and tumor size (p = 0.001) were independent predictors of prolonged operative time.
Conclusions: Surgical outcomes of LESS-A were equivalent to those of LA without compromising safety. The introduction of LESS-A at our hospital was smooth and safe. While the indication for LESS-A has been controversial, LESS-A was a useful procedure, especially for cases in which cosmesis is of paramount importance.
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