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J Endourol. 2017 Sep;31(9):872-877. doi: 10.1089/end.2017.0085. Epub 2017 Jul 21.

Assessing the Impact of Surgeon Experience on Urinary Continence Recovery After Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy: Results of Four High-Volume Surgeons.

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1 Division of Oncology/Unit of Urology, URI, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute , Milan, Italy .
2 ORSI Academy , Melle, Belgium .
3 Department of Urology, OLV Ziekenhuis , Aalst, Belgium .
4 Department of Urology, Humanitas Clinical and Research Centre , Rozzano, Milan, Italy .



To test the impact of surgeon experience on urinary continence (UC) recovery after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP).


The study included 1477 consecutive patients treated with RARP by four surgeons between 2006 and 2014. UC recovery was defined as being completely dry over a 24-hour period at follow-up. Surgeon experience was coded as the total number of RARP performed by the surgeon before the patient's operation. Multivariable analysis tested the association between surgeon experience and UC recovery. Covariates consisted of patient age, Charlson comorbidity index, preoperative International Index of Erectile Function-Erectile Function domain (IIEF-EF), nerve-sparing surgery (none vs unilateral vs bilateral), and preoperative risk groups (low- vs intermediate- vs high risk).


The number of cases performed by each surgeon was 541, 413, 411, and 112, respectively. Median follow-up was 24 months (inter-quartile range: 18, 40). The UC recovery rate at 1 year after surgery was 82%. At multivariable analyses, surgeon experience represented an independent predictor of UC recovery (hazard ratio: 1.02, pā€‰<ā€‰0.001). The surgical learning curve was similar among surgeons, moving linearly from āˆ¼60% of UC rate at the initial cases to almost 90% after more than 400 procedures.


In patients undergoing RARP, surgeon experience is a significant predictor of UC recovery. The surgical learning curve of UC recovery does not reach a plateau even after more than 100 cases, suggesting a continuous improvement of the surgical technique. These findings deserve attention for patient counseling and future comparative studies evaluating functional outcomes after RARP.


prostatectomy; prostatic neoplasms; robotic; surgical procedures; urinary incontinence

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