The robotic-assisted laparoscopic approach to radical prostatectomy is increasingly utilized and has become well documented as an effective oncologic treatment modality. In this study, we report the initial experience of a single surgeon at a single institution with robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) drawing a comparison to his prior experience with pure laparoscopic prostatectomy (LRP) METHODS: This is a retrospective review of surgical results from a single surgeon performing LRP and transitioning to RALP. Baseline characteristics and outcomes of two hundred seventy five patients undergoing RALP by a single, fellowship-trained, urologic oncologist were analyzed and compared to 45 patients undergoing LRP by the same surgeon. Patient, tumor, and operative characteristics as well as functional outcomes were evaluated. Validated questionnaires, including the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) and International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), were utilized in the assessment of urinary and sexual parameters.
Preoperative patient and tumor characteristics (age, PSA, Gleason score) were similar in both the LRP and RALP groups. Mean operative time (195 vs. 299 minutes), estimated blood loss (223 vs. 299 mL), need for blood transfusion (1.5% vs. 4.4%) and mean length of stay (1.95 vs. 2.63 days) were significantly reduced among patients undergoing RALP as compared to those undergoing LRP. In terms of functional outcomes, continence at 12 months was better among patients undergoing RALP as compared to LRP (94% vs. 82%). In preoperatively potent men undergoing bilateral nerve sparing procedures, RALP conferred 82% potency at 24 months as opposed to only 62% following LRP.
The combination of adjustment in surgical technique from LRP to RALP along with a concurrent institutional commitment to a successful robotic surgery program, has yielded superior operative, oncologic, and functional results.