Living donor kidney transplantation accounts for about 50% of the total number of renal transplantations at our center. From 1999 through 2005, 75 out of 220 living donor nephrectomies were performed with a laparoscopic technique (LLDN). In June 2005, we introduced the technique of hand-assisted retroperitoneoscopic nephrectomy (HARS) for living donors. Since the introduction until the end of 2005, 11 out of 18 living donor nephrectomies (LDN) were performed with HARS. Reduced operation time was observed for the HARS group (mean, 166 minutes) compared with the LLDN (mean, 244 minutes). Two grafts showed delayed function, one in the LLND group and one in the HARS group. No major perioperative or postoperative complications were observed in the HARS group, whereas one patient who underwent LLDN developed severe pancreatitis. So far in our hands HARS is a fast and safe procedure with results comparable with open LDN. Compared to LLDN, we experienced reduced operation time together with the advantage of retroperitoneal access.