Intraoperative ultrasonography with a surgeon-manipulated microtransducer during robotic radical prostatectomy

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Intraoperative transrectal ultrasonography during laparoscopic radical prostatectomy has been reported to lead to a reduction in surgical margin rates. However, the use of a surgeon-controlled ultrasound probe that allows for precise manipulation and direct interpretation of the image by a console surgeon has yet to be studied. The aim of the present study was to show initial feasibility using the microtransducer with 9-mm scan length controlled by the console surgeon during robot-assisted radical prostatectomy in 10 patients. The transducer is designed as a drop-in probe with a flexible cord for insertion through a laparoscopic port, and is controlled by a robotic arm with the ultrasonographic image shown as a console Tile-pro display. Intraoperative localization of the biopsy-proven cancerous hypoechoic lesion was feasible in four out of four cases. The microtransducer facilitated identification of the bladder neck as well as the appropriate level of neurovascular bundle release. Negative surgical margin was achieved in all 10 cases (100%), even though five of 10 patients (50%) had extraprostatic (pT3) disease. Recovery of erectile function and continence was encouraging. In conclusion, intraoperative ultrasound navigation using a drop-type microtransducer is a novel technique that could enhance the incremental value of the standard information.

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