Learning curve for radical retropubic prostatectomy.Int Braz J Urol. 2011 Jan-Feb; 37(1):67-74; discussion 75-8.IB
The learning curve is a period in which the surgical procedure is performed with difficulty and slowness, leading to a higher risk of complications and reduced effectiveness due the surgeon's inexperience. We sought to analyze the residents' learning curve for open radical prostatectomy (RP) in a training program.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
We conducted a prospective study from June 2006 to January 2008 in the academic environment of the University of Sao Paulo. Five residents operated on 184 patients during a four-month rotation in the urologic oncology division, mentored by the same physician assistants. We performed sequential analyses according to the number of surgeries, as follows: ≤ 10, 11 to 19, 20 to 28, and ≥ 29.
The residents performed an average of 37 RP each. The average psa was 9.3 ng/mL and clinical stage T1c in 71% of the patients. The pathological stage was pT2 (73%), pT3 (23%), pT4 (4%), and 46% of the patients had a Gleason score 7 or higher. In all surgeries, the average operative time and estimated blood loss was 140 minutes and 488 mL. Overall, 7.2% of patients required blood transfusion, and 23% had positive surgical margins.
During the initial RP learning curve, we found a significant reduction in the operative time; blood transfusion during the procedures and positive surgical margin rate were stable in our series.