Robotic assisted simple prostatectomy: recent advances

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Robotic assisted simple prostatectomy (RASP) represents a minimally invasive evolution of traditional open simple prostatectomy for the surgical treatment of severe lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) because of benign prostatic enlargement (BPE). Aim of the present review is to summarize the most recent evidence on this novel procedure, and to better define its current role in the surgical armamentarium for the treatment of BPE.

Recent findings

Several studies demonstrated that RASP can be safely and effectively performed in centers with sufficient expertise. The procedure can duplicate its open counterpart with the advantage of lower perioperative morbidity, and ultimately faster patient recovery. Overall, the status of RASP seems to be well beyond that of an ‘investigational’ procedure, and guidelines should be amended accordingly.

Recent findings

Nevertheless, it remains to be determined what the place of the RASP procedure in the surgical armamentarium for the treatment of symptomatic BPE will be. Over the most recent years, few comparative studies have been reported, allowing in part to draw some conclusions. RASP seems to be attractive when compared with open simple prostatectomy as it can offer less blood loss, and shorter hospital stay. However, its advantages over transurethral enucleation techniques – such as HoLEP – remain unclear. There are some specific indications, such as the presence of concomitant bladder diverticula or stones, for example, where a robotic approach could represent an appealing solution. Ultimately, further research should look at a cost analysis to determine which technique can be more cost effective. Last, the issue of the learning curve for the different procedures for symptomatic BPE remain to be further scrutinized.

Summary

RASP offers potential advantages over other available techniques for the treatment of large prostate glands. In centers, wherever a solid robotic program is already in place, this procedure is likely to be increasingly implemented.

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