After our initial experience with 70 transperitoneal laparoscopic radical prostatectomies we developed a totally extraperitoneal retropubic approach to radical prostatectomy using laparoscopic instruments. We report our initial experience with 70 endoscopic extraperitoneal radical prostatectomy procedures.
A total of 70 patients underwent endoscopic extraperitoneal radical prostatectomy. Mean patient age was 63.4 years (range 49 to 76). Mean preoperative prostate specific antigen was 12.48 ng./ml. (range 1.4 to 50.7). There were no specific selection criteria for the procedure. The steps of the procedure are preparation of the preperitoneal space with the help of a balloon trocar, trocar placement (a 3 x 5 and a 2 x 12 mm. port), pelvic lymph node dissection, exposure of the prostate and the bladder neck, incision of the endopelvic fascia, ligation of Santorini's plexus, bladder neck dissection, mobilization of the seminal vesicles, incision of Denonvilliers' fascia, sectioning of the prostatic pedicles with or without preservation of the neurovascular bundles, dissection of Santorini's plexus and apex, urethrovesical anastomosis with 7 to 9 interrupted sutures and removal of the specimen via an extraction bag. During the 70 endoscopic prostatectomies 11 hernia defects were treated in 9 patients concomitantly.
There was no conversions and no re-interventions. Mean operative time was 155 minutes (range 90 to 260). One patient required transfusion with 2 units of blood cells. Pathological stage was pT2a in 19 patients, pT2b in 14, pT3a in 25, pT3b in 9 and pT4 in 3. Positive surgical margins were found in 2 of the 33 patients (6.1%) with pT2 tumors and in 13 of the 37 (35.1%) with pT3 and pT4 tumors. Postoperatively edema and hematoma of the penis in 10 cases was treated conservatively. Furthermore, 4 patients had asymptomatic lymphoceles, 1 required lymphocele drainage and 2 had partial obturator nerve paralysis, which resolved spontaneously. In 1 patient deep venous thrombosis developed.
The preliminary results of this series are promising. Operative and perioperative morbidity was low. Functional results and oncological control were similar to the results of laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. The data demonstrate that endoscopic extraperitoneal radical prostatectomy can be performed with efficacy and results equal to those of laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, while providing the benefits of a totally extraperitoneal approach. Therefore, totally endoscopic extraperitoneal radical prostatectomy represents a technical improvement of laparoscopic technique because it completely obviates intra-abdominal complications and combines the advantages of minimally invasive laparoscopy and the retropubic open approach.