Robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) is a procedure thought to require experience with a significant number of cases before mastering. Most RARP series examine outcomes after the learning curve or by combining results from multiple surgeons. We review a single surgeon's experience during the transition from open radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) to RARP using a matched case-control model. We prospectively analyzed 50 RARP cases and made comparison with the last 50 consecutive RRP cases. Operative time was longer for RARP than RRP (341 versus 235 min, p < 0.01), and mean estimated blood loss was less for RARP than RRP (533 versus 1,540 ml, p < 0.01). There was a trend towards fewer positive surgical margins (PSM) for RARP (10%) than RRP (24%; p = 0.06). High-risk patients were found to have a greater percentage of PSM following RRP (70%) in comparison with RARP (17%; p = 0.04). The number of patients who experienced complications was no different between groups (16 versus 12, p = 0.37). Erectile function at 12, 18, and 24 months showed no difference between groups (p = 0.15, 0.92, and 0.23, respectively). There was no difference in continence at 1 year (88.6% versus 89.1%; p = 0.94). During 27. 1 months of follow-up for the RARP group and 30.4 months for the RRP group, 92% and 94% of patients had an undetectable prostate-specific antigen (PSA) (defined as ≤0.1), respectively (p = 0.38). We report similar outcomes in patients undergoing RARP by a surgeon transitioning from RRP to RARP, confirming that the learning curve does not affect patient outcomes over a 2-year follow-up.
- Learning curve
- Prostate cancer