• laparo-endoscopic;
  • single site;
  • surgery;
  • laparoscopy;
  • LESS;

We reviewed the preliminary advances in laparo-endoscopic single-site surgery (LESS) as applied to renal surgery, and analyzed current publications based on animal models and human patients. We searched published reports in major urological meeting abstracts, Embase and Medline (1966 to 25 August 2008), with no language restrictions. Keyword searches included: ‘scarless’, ‘scar free’, ‘single port/trocar/incision’, ‘intraumbilical’, and ‘transumbilical’, ‘natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery’ (NOTES), ‘SILS’, ‘OPUS’ and ‘LESS’. The lessons learnt from the studies using the porcine model are that further advances in instrumentation are essential to achieve optimum results, and that testing survival in animals is also necessary to further expand the NOTES and LESS techniques. Further advances in instrument technology together with increasing experience in NOTES and LESS approaches have driven the transition from porcine models to human patients. In the latter, studies show that the techniques are feasible provided that both optimal surgical technical expertise with advanced skills, and optimal instrumentation, are available. The next step towards minimal access/minimally invasive urological surgery is NOTES and LESS. It is inevitable that LESS will be extended to involve more complex and technically demanding procedures such as laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and partial nephrectomy.