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Eur Urol. 2007 Mar;51(3):755-62; discussion 763. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

Robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy: functional and pathologic outcomes with interfascial nerve preservation.

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  • 1Section of Urology, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 60637, United States.



Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RLRP) is increasingly becoming an alternative to open and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy in the treatment of localized prostate cancer. RLRP has been associated with low morbidity, short convalescence and comparable oncologic and functional outcomes. We report our initial experience of 300 consecutive cases with selective use of interfascial nerve preservation (IFNP).


Between February 2003 and September 2005, 300 consecutive men underwent RLRP at our institution. Patients were followed prospectively with validated questionnaires.


Mean operative time was 282 minutes with an estimated blood loss of 273 ml. The intra-operative complication rate was 2.3% with no mortality. Return to baseline (RTB) urinary function and subjective continence at 12 months were 71% and 90.2%, respectively. RTB sexual function and subjective potency at 12 months were 53% and 80.4%, respectively. Overall, the positive surgical margin (PSM) rate was 20.9%: 15.1% for pT2 and 52.1% for pT3 disease and 93.1% had an undetectable PSA (<0.1 ng/mL) with a mean follow-up of 17.3 months. Fifty-four percent of PSMs occured in a poster-lateral (PL) location. Retrospectively, IFNP was performed in 86.5% and 62.5% of pT2 and pT3 PSMs, respectively. Pathologic-T3 PSMs were found to occur significantly more often in a PL location when ipsilateral IFNP was performed when compared to non-IFNP (73% vs 33%, p=0.05).


IFNP appears to result in favorable return of potency, however, postero-lateral PSMs appear to occur more frequently with this technique. Proper patient selection for robotic surgery and nerve-preservation appears to be critical in order to reduce PSM and optimize the oncologic efficacy of this technology.

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