Contemporary evidence for robot-assisted radical cystectomy for treating bladder cancer

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Robot-assisted radical cystectomy (RARC) is an evolving technique for the treatment of muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC); however, its effectiveness compared with open radical cystectomy (ORC) — the established modality — is debated. Six specific areas of evidence are critically important for supporting the continuing use of RARC for MIBC, including technical aspects of surgery, perioperative outcomes, complications, oncological outcomes, functional outcomes, and financial costs. Considerable progress has been made regarding these aspects and data show that RARC replicates the technical benchmarks of ORC in terms of success of cystectomy, lymph node dissection, and urinary diversion, and could offer advantages over the more-established technique. Despite some clear benefits of RARC (such as reduced blood loss) other perioperative outcomes, including duration of inpatient stay and 30–90 day complication rates, seem to be similar to those of ORC. Current data on oncological and functional outcomes are promising, but robust data from prospective studies will help determine the indications for use of RARC for treating MIBC in the future.

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