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JSLS. 2007 Jan-Mar;11(1):1-7.

Robotic radical prostatectomy: operative technique, outcomes, and learning curve.

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  • 1Department of Urology, The New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York 10021, USA. jay_ d_



To report the operative technique, oncologic and therapeutic outcomes, and learning curve from our initial series of over 140 patients treated by robotic radical prostatectomy.


Between January 2003 and May 2005, 143 patients with clinically localized prostate cancer underwent a robotic radical prostatectomy. Prospective data collection included patient age, body mass index (BMI), clinical T stage, biopsy Gleason score, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Operative outcome measures included operative time, estimated blood loss (EBL), and complications. Post-operative outcomes were length of hospital stay, catheter duration, pathology, margin status, biochemical recurrence, and return of continence.


Mean operative time was 241 minutes with an EBL of 274 mL. Five patients (3%) required conversion to open surgery. The average hospitalization was 1.8 days, and Foley catheters were removed after 8.9 days. Twenty-four of 141 men (17%) had a positive surgical margin, with a decrease from 23% in the first half of our experience to 11% in the latter half. Patients with an extracapsular extension had a significantly higher positive surgical margin rate than did those with organ-confined disease (47% vs 15%). Over 40% of the positive margins were located posteriorly. At a mean follow-up of 11 months, 96% of patients had a PSA <0.2 ng/mL. The median time to complete continence was 3.5 months, and over 95% of patients were fully continent at 1 year.


Robotic radical prostatectomy is an effective treatment modality for clinically localized prostate cancer. Although a learning curve needs to be overcome, patients experienced benefits in convalescence with early oncologic and functional outcomes comparable to those of the open approach. Longer-term results are needed; however, patient outcomes in our series are encouraging.

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