Anatomic and technical considerations for optimizing recovery of urinary function during robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy

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Purpose of review

The advent of robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy purported fewer complications including postprostatectomy incontinence (PPI). PPI is associated with worse quality of life. We evaluate recently reported robot-assisted radical prostatectomy surgical techniques aimed at limiting PPI, describe their anatomic basis and summarize their outcomes.

Recent findings

RARP techniques to reduce PPI include bladder neck preservation, bladder neck reconstruction, urethral length preservation, periurethral suspension stitch, posterior reconstruction, combined anterior and posterior reconstruction, preservation of the endopelvic fascia, complete anterior preservation, selective suturing of dorsal venous complex and nerve sparing approach. Outcomes of reconstructive techniques seem to be conflicting, whereas outcomes of techniques aiming to preserve the native urinary continence system seem to hasten urinary function recovery. However, few of these techniques have been shown to affect long-term urinary continence.


Surgical techniques preserving the natural urinary continence mechanism appear to improve short-term urinary continence, whereas techniques reconstructing pelvic anatomy have mixed results. The search for the ideal technique to minimize PPI remains hampered by the lack of prospective multi-institutional studies and the long-term follow up. Although reconstructive techniques are safe with few drawbacks, meticulous surgical technique and preservation of the natural continence mechanism should remain the mainstay of PPI prevention.

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