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BJU Int. 2012 Dec;110 Suppl 4:64-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11479.x.

Preliminary results of robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RALP) after fellowship training and experience in laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP).

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Department of Urology, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



• To ascertain whether prior experience in laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP) shortens the 'learning curve' and therefore improves early patient outcomes when transitioning to robot-assisted laparoscopic RP (RALP).


• Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data of the most recent 87 cases of LRP compared with the initial 73 cases of RALP. • LRP was performed via a five-port extraperitoneal approach, while transperitoneal RALP was performed using a four-arm da Vinci S unit.


• The median operative duration for RALP (skin-to-skin, including docking time) rapidly reduced, although never exceeded 3.5 h, for each consecutive set of 10 cases. • Oncological outcomes were preserved with no cases of pT2 positive surgical margins (PSMs) in any group. pT3 PSM rates were not significantly different at 50% and 38% for LRP and RALP, respectively. • Penetrative intercourse rates at 3 months for bilateral nerve-sparing procedures in preoperatively potent patients were similar, at 50% for LRP (median Sexual Health Inventory for Men [SHIM] 17) and 48.1% for RALP (median SHIM 18). The pad-free rate at 3 months was significantly better for RALP at 59.7%, compared with 39.8% for LRP (P= 0.043). • Complications were minimal and comparable for the two groups except for a higher LRP radiological anastomotic leak rate of 16 vs 1% (P= 0.004).


• In this comparative series fellowship training and prior experience in LRP resulted in no significant RALP learning curve with regards to oncological and functional outcomes, while maintaining a low complication rate. • A short learning curve existed for operative duration but this improved rapidly and there were no prolonged cases. • Differences in early continence and radiological leaks may reflect changing from an interrupted anastomosis (LRP) to a continuous anastomosis with posterior rhabdosphincter reconstruction (RALP).

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