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Int Braz J Urol. 2008 Mar-Apr;34(2):151-8.

Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy: omitting a pelvic drain.

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Lahey Clinic Medical Center, Burlington, Massachusetts, USA.



Our goal was to assess outcomes of a selective drain placement strategy during laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP) with a running urethrovesical anastomosis (RUVA) using cystographic imaging in all patients.


A retrospective chart review was performed for all patients undergoing LRP between January 2003 and December 2004. The anastomosis was performed using a modified van Velthoven technique. A drain was placed at the discretion of the senior surgeon when a urinary leak was demonstrated with bladder irrigation, clinical suspicion for a urinary leak was high, or a complex bladder neck reconstruction was performed. Routine postoperative cystograms were obtained.


208 patients underwent LRP with a RUVA. Data including cystogram was available for 206 patients. The overall rate of cystographic urine leak was 5.8%. A drain was placed in 51 patients. Of these, 8 (15.6%) had a postoperative leak on cystogram. Of the 157 undrained patients, urine leak was radiographically visible in 4 (2.5%). The higher leak rate in the drained vs. undrained cohort was statistically significant (p = 0.002). Twenty-four patients underwent pelvic lymph node dissection (8 drained, 16 undrained). Three undrained patients developed lymphoceles, which presented clinically on average 3 weeks postoperatively. There were no urinomas or hematomas in either group.


Routine placement of a pelvic drain after LRP with a RUVA is not necessary, unless the anastomotic integrity is suboptimal intraoperatively. Experienced clinical judgment is essential and accurate in identifying patients at risk for postoperative leakage. When suspicion is low, omitting a drain does not increase morbidity.

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