Objective: To assess renal function in the operated kidney at different time points post partial nephrectomy (PN) and establish the time in which optimal recovery occurs. Recovery of renal function post-PN has received significant attention. However, the optimal time to determine full recovery has not been clearly established. Materials and Methods: Renal function following minimally invasive (laparoscopic and robotic) PNs performed between 2002 and 2015 was reviewed. Patients included in this study had renal function assessed preoperatively as well as 3 days, 6-12 weeks, and 1 year post-PN, using a combination of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) from serum creatinine and relative renal uptake (RRU) from Tc99m-MAG3 renal scintigraphy. Together, eGFR and RRU provide the ipsilateral renal function (IRF) of the operated organ. Results: At 6-12 weeks postoperatively, percent preserved eGFR, RRU, and IRF (relative to preoperative baselines) were 92.1%, 83.3%, and 77.4% respectively. %IRF at 6-12 weeks was significantly improved from %IRF at 3 days postoperatively, but did not differ significantly from 1 year postoperatively. Furthermore, 89% of patients had RRU values at 6-12 weeks which differed by less than 5% from RRU values at 1 year. Conclusion: Our data suggest that renal function recovery at 6-12 weeks was equivalent to long-term recovery at 1 year in the majority of post-PN patients. This has important implications for post-PN follow-up, particularly in assessing the functional outcomes utilizing novel minimally invasive PN strategies, as well as in planning staged procedures for bilateral synchronous renal masses.
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