Abstract Background: To perform radical nephrectomy or adrenalectomy through a minimal incision over the 12th rib and to compare this with the traditional supracostal or transcostal approach. We review and clarify the related surgical anatomy through close observation.
Methods: We performed radical nephrectomy in six patients with upper urinary tract carcinoma through a minimal incision over the 12th rib and in five patients with renal cell carcinoma through a medium-sized incision, and adrenalectomy in five patients (bilaterally in one) again through a minimal incision over the 12th rib. During surgery, special points were noted to find out the differences between the new minimal-incision approach and the conventional approach.
Results: The procedures were accomplished smoothly with no complications through either a minimal or medium-sized incision. From our observation, it is clear that most of the procedures involved in the minimal-incision approach were and should be carried out within the space created in the retroperitoneum beneath the lateroconal fascia.
Conclusion: Entering the correct anatomical planes posteriorly and anteriorly in the renal fasciae is a prerequisite for full mobilization of the kidney, together with the perinephric fat. To perform this, recognition of the lateroconal fascia and incising it along the correct lines are of the utmost importance for minimal-incision radical nephrectomy and adrenalectomy. Furthermore, this anatomical approach is also important for the conventional open approach and laparoscopic approach.