Robot-assisted simple prostatectomy (RASP): does it make sense?
Matei DV, Brescia A, Mazzoleni F, Spinelli M, Musi G, Melegari S, Galasso G, Detti S, de Cobelli O. BJU Int. 2012 May 18. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11192.x. [Epub ahead of print]


Departments of Urology, IEO European Institute of Oncology Robotic Oncologic Urology Division, Saint Joseph Hospital, Milan, Italy.


Study Type - Therapy (case series) Level of Evidence 4 What's known on the subject? and What does the study add? The open simple prostatectomy (OSP) is the 'gold standard' for high-volume prostate adenomas. It shows very good functional results despite its invasiveness. Minimally invasive approaches, e.g. laparoscopy or holmium laser enucleation of the prostate, have been 'tested' but none have proved a substitute for the OSP. The robot-assisted approach provides optimal functional results and is easy to perform for experienced robotic surgeons. Extending the indication of robotics to low-incidence pathologies can take advantage of the opportunity to 'see the procedure' using available information technology, e.g. Youtube™ that presents as an unexpectedly useful tool.


•  To evaluate the outcome, feasibility and reproducibility of a robot-assisted (RA) approach for simple prostatectomy (SP) in cases of high-volume symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (HVS-BPH).


•  In all, 35 consecutive patients underwent RASP for HVS-BPH using a previously described technique. •  The mean prostate volume on preoperative transrectal ultrasonography was 106.6 mL. •  All but two patients (with bladder calculi) had an adenoma volume of >65 mL and 27 (77.1%) >80 mL. Nine patients (25.7%) had an indwelling catheter. •  The mean International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) was 28.


•  The median operative duration was 180 min and the mean hospital stay was 3.17 days. •  The mean catheter duration was 7.4 days and discontinuous or continuous catheter irrigation was required in two and seven patients, respectively (25.1%). •  In all, 10 patients (28.6%) had practically no blood loss. No patients had a transfusion. •  The mean postoperative peak urinary flow was 18.9 mL/s (P < 0.001), while the mean IPSS was 7 (P < 0.001). •  For costs, while superficially RASP appeared more expensive than open SP (OSP), when considering the higher costs of hospitalisation for OSP, RASP was cheaper. Also, bipolar-TURP costs in patients with large-volume prostates had rather similar costs to RASP.


•  RASP is a feasible and reproducible procedure with outcome advantages when compared with the open or with other minimally invasive techniques (laser or laparoscopy). As a result, a RA approach is worth considering in cases of high-volume prostate adenomas. •  Extending the indication of the RA approach, to the SP, requires firstly that the surgeon be proficient in RA surgery and secondly that as the incidence rate of HVS-BPH is low, the surgeon has had the opportunity to 'see the procedure'.