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BJU Int. 2014 May;113(5b):E112-8. doi: 10.1111/bju.12451. Epub 2014 Jan 15.

Population-based determinants of radical prostatectomy operative time.

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Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



To determine factors that influence radical prostatectomy (RP) operative times. Operative time assessment is inherent to defining surgeon learning curves and evaluating quality of care.


Population-based observational cohort study using USA Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked data of men diagnosed with prostate cancer during 2003-2007 who underwent robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP, 3458 men) and retropubic RP (RRP, 6993) through to 2009. We obtained median operative time using anaesthesia administrative data for RP and used median regression to assess the contribution of patient, surgeon, and hospital factors to operative times.


The median RARP operative time decreased from 315 to 247 min from 2003 to 2008-2009 (P < 0.001), while the median RRP operative time remained similar (195 vs 197 min, P = 0.90). In adjusted analysis, RARP vs RRP (parameter estimate [PE] 70.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] 58, 84; P < 0.001) and obesity (PE 15; 95% CI 7, 23; P < 0.001) were associated with longer operative times while higher surgeon volumes were associated with shorter operative times (P < 0.001). RPs performed by surgeons employed by group (parameter estimate [PE] -22.76; 95% CI -38, -7.49; P = 0.004) and non-government (PE -35.59; 95% CI -68.15, -3.03; P = 0.032) vs government facilities and non-profit vs government hospital ownership (PE -21.85; 95% CI -32.28, -11.42; P < 0.001) were associated with shorter operative times.


During our study period, RARP operative times decreased by 68 min while RRP operative times remained stagnant. Higher surgeon volume was associated with shorter operative times, and selective referral or improved efficiency to the level of high-volume surgeons would net almost $15 million (USA dollars) in annual savings.


operative time; prostate cancer; prostatectomy; retropubic radical prostatectomy; robot-assisted radical prostatectomy

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