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J Urol. 1998 Apr;159(4):1281-5.

Surgical modifications of radical retropubic prostatectomy to decrease incidence of positive surgical margins.

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Department of Surgery, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Illinois, USA.



We sought to determine whether recent surgical modifications in the technique of radical retropubic prostatectomy decrease the incidence of positive surgical margins.


We reviewed the records of 144 consecutive patients a mean of 60.8 years old who underwent radical retropubic prostatectomy using a modified surgical technique. Mean prostate specific antigen was 8.6 ng./ml. and mean Gleason grade was 5.8. Surgical modifications included division of the dorsal venous complex of the penis 10 to 15 mm. distal to the prostatic apex; transection of the urethra 3 mm. beyond the prostatic apex; division of the anterior aspect of the urethra, leaving the investing periurethral musculature intact, and division of the posterior aspect of the urethra en bloc with the striated urethral sphincter; sharp dissection of the rectourethralis muscle and remaining attachments of the prostate to the rectum; wide excision of the neurovascular bundle posterolateral to the prostate when adjacent induration or tumor is present, and division of the bladder neck, leaving a 5 mm. cuff of bladder tissue with the prostate.


Of 144 consecutive patients 16 (11.1%) had positive surgical margins at a total of 20 sites, including 7 (35%) at the apex, 8 (40%) posterolateral, 3 (15%) anterior and 2 (10%) at the bladder neck. These results compare favorably with the positive surgical margin rates after radical prostatectomy previously reported in the literature.


These surgical modifications appear to have decreased the incidence of positive surgical margins after radical retropubic prostatectomy.

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