Randomized Comparison of Techniques for Control of the Dorsal Venous Complex During Robotic-assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy.

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BJU international


OBJECTIVE: To prospectively compare the effects of endoscopic stapling, division and suture ligation, and suture ligation with suspension of the dorsal venous complex (DVC) on continence during RARP PATIENTS AND METHODS: 300 consecutive patients undergoing RARP by a single surgeon were randomized to three groups: endoscopic stapling, cut and suture ligation, and suture ligation with suspension. The only difference between the groups was the technique to control the DVC. Pad-free continence (PFC) and overall continence (0 pads/day with or without security pad) was assessed with patient reported pad usage records and validated questionnaires (EPIC) at 3, 12, and 15 months. Secondary endpoints were erectile function recovery (defined as erections sufficient for sexual activity) and the rate of apical surgical margins. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to determine predictors for recovery of both urinary continence and erectile function.

RESULTS: The three groups were comparable in terms of age, BMI, prostate size, AUA symptom score, SHIM, and clinical stage. There were no differences found in terms of operative times, EBL, pathological stage, and positive apical margin. There was no difference between the three groups with regard to overall continence or pad-fee continence at 3 months. However, overall continence at 15 months for ligation and suspension was 99% and was superior to stapler (88%) (p=0.002) and cut and suture ligation (88%) (p=0.002). Additionally, pad-free continence at 15 months was superior for ligation and suspension (87%) as compared to stapler (73%) and cut and suture ligation (75%) (p=0.045). The technique of DVC control did not impact erectile function. Men with nerve sparing had better continence compared to no nerve sparing at 3 months (62 vs 42%, p=0.045) but not at 15 months. Median time to continence was 2 months for patients receiving nerve sparing compared to 4.5 months for non-nerve sparing (p=0.02).

CONCLUSION: Suture suspension of the DVC during RARP contributes to higher overall continence rates compared to stapling and cut and sew. Nerve sparing contributes to earlier return of continence than non-nerve sparing.