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J Urol. 2005 Mar;173(3):765-8.

Quality improvement in laparoscopic radical prostatectomy for pT2 prostate cancer: impact of video documentation review on positive surgical margin.

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Sidney Kimmel Center for Prostate and Urologic Cancers, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.



We correlated intraoperative video documentation and pathology findings to understand the mechanisms by which positive surgical margins occur and improve the surgical technique.


Between January 2003 and May 2004, 240 consecutive patients underwent laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, of whom 180 had pT2 prostate cancer and represent the population of this study. After the first 90 patients (group 1) we started a quality assurance study, analyzing intraoperative video recordings and correlating them with pathology findings in patients with a positive margin. The cancer characteristics and positive margin rate were compared between the first 90 patients and the subsequent 90 after the study was initiated (group 2).


Of the 12 cases of positive surgical margins studied the video review helped identify 8 with a technical error. In all 4 cases in which a technical error could not be identified the positive margin site was at the distal apex. The most frequent identifiable mechanism by which positive margins occurred was a capsular tear during neurovascular bundle dissection. The 2 groups were comparable in regard to preoperative cancer characteristics and total tumor volume. In patients who underwent bilateral nerve sparing the positive margin rate was 10.6% in group 1 and 5.4% in group 2 (p = 0.18). All positive margins in group 2 involved the prostatic apex.


Quality assurance efforts through pathological and intraoperative documentation review can help decrease the positive margin rate, particularly in organ confined disease. However, eradicating positive margins at the distal prostatic apex remains a challenge.

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