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

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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.


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.


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).


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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