Resection of the abdominal inferior vena cava for complicated renal cell carcinoma with tumour thrombus

Gaetano Ciancio, Mark Soloway
BJU International 2005, 96 (6): 815-8

OBJECTIVE: To describe our experience of excising the inferior vena cava (IVC) without a graft; en bloc resection of a renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with the renal vein and vena cava tumour thrombus and a segment of the entire abdominal IVC is technically feasible, but traditionally, after resection, attempts are made to restore continuity with the use of synthetic or homologous venous grafts.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between May 1997 and September 2004, 60 patients (mean age 62 years) underwent surgical resection of a renal tumour with a thrombus extending into the IVC. To resect the entire evident tumour, excision of the affected portion of the IVC was required in three patients (5%); the IVC was not reconstructed.

RESULTS: The three patients were aged 38, 39 and 74 years; the mean operative duration was 5.88 h, the mean (range) estimated blood loss was 833 (500-1000) mL, the mean number of blood units transfused was 3.3 (0-7) units, and the mean follow-up was 24 months. The course after surgery was uneventful; specifically, none of the patients had a venous thrombosis or a pulmonary embolus.

CONCLUSIONS: RCC has a propensity to invade the renal vein and IVC. Occasionally the thrombus invades the wall of the IVC and complete removal requires excision of a circumferential portion of the IVC; this can be done safely without a graft.

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