Robot-Assisted Transvesical Enucleation of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Lessons from a Single Surgeon's Learning Curve

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Abstract

Introduction:

Open simple prostatectomy is a well-established and effective operation for prostate volumes greater than 80 gm but also associated with bleeding and urinary incontinence. To benefit from the advances of laparoscopy, robot-assisted simple prostatectomy was established. We determined the learning curve of this minimally invasive surgery by evaluating the first procedures by an experienced robotic surgeon.

Methods:

Patients presenting for surgical therapy with prostate volumes greater than 80 gm were considered for the study. Evaluation included validated questionnaires preoperatively, and at 6 and 12 weeks postoperatively. Blood loss, transfusions, operation time and pad use after catheter removal were documented. The experience based on the results from 18 cases treated with robot-assisted simple prostatectomy by one of us (JWT) is presented.

Results:

Mean age of the 18 patients was 71.2 years, mean enucleated prostate volume was 91 gm and mean preoperative flow was 9.0 ml/second. I-PSS and QoL values improved significantly from 25 to 6.1 (p <0.005) and from 5 to 1.1 (p <0.005), respectively, and flow rate increased to 28.2 ml/second (p <0.005) postoperatively. There were no significant changes in sexual performance based on IIEF (p = 0.73). Of the 18 patients 14 had complete continence immediately after catheter removal, and at 6 weeks postoperatively 17 were completely continent. Decreases in operation time from 250 to 150 minutes and blood loss from 400 to 200 ml were noted after 5 procedures. Only minor complications occurred and 1 patient required transfusion postoperatively (Clavien-Dindo II).

Conclusions:

Robot-assisted simple prostatectomy is a safe and effective operation for benign prostatic hyperplasia, which can be learned with good results in a rather short time.

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