Tag Archive for: robot-assisted radical prostatectomy


Editorial: Regaining continence after radical prostatectomy: RARP vs. ORP

Functional outcomes represent relevant criteria to evaluate the success of radical prostatectomy (RP) in the treatment of localised and locally advanced prostate cancer. Indeed, while the primary goal of RP remains the complete extirpation of the primary tumour, patients’ satisfaction can be negatively affected by urinary incontinence and/or erectile dysfunction after RP.

In this issue of BJUI, Geraerts et al. [1] evaluated urinary continence recovery and voiding symptoms in a well-conducted, single-centre, prospective non-randomised study comparing two contemporary series of patients who underwent either open retropubic RP (RRP) or robot-assisted RP (RARP) for clinically localised or locally advanced prostate cancer. Patients were assigned to each group according to their or their surgeon’s preference. High-risk prostate cancers were preferably treated with an open access to offer a more accurate extended lymphadenectomy. The study showed that the urinary continence recovery rate was significantly shorter in the RARP group than in the RRP group (16 vs 46 days; P = 0.008). Interestingly, the RA approach remained an independent predictor of time to urinary continence recovery on multivariable Cox regression analysis (P = 0.03; hazard ratio [HR] 1.52, 95% CI 1.03–2.26). Therefore, this study confirmed previously published results. In 2003, Tewari et al. [2] reported a shorter time to recovery of urinary continence in patients who underwent RARP (44 days) than those who received RRP (160 days). In 2008, Kim et al. [3] reported a median time to continence in RARP patients of 1.6 months, significantly lower than the 4.3 months in the RRP patients. Interestingly, Geraerts et al. [1] identified other independent predictors of time to continence, such as patient’s age >65 years (P = 0.02; HR 0.67, 95% CI 0.45–0.96) and the preoperative continence status (P = 0.004; HR 1.69, 95% CI 1.18–2.43). In all, 28% of patients who received RRP and 34% of those who underwent RARP were preoperatively defined as incontinent using a symptom-specific questionnaire [1]. These patients classifiable as ‘Cx’ according to the Survival, Continence and Potency (SCP) classification [4] represent a confounding population in the Geraerts et al. study who should be evaluated separately.

An interesting question is whether the reported difference in time to continence in favour of RARP is also significant from the clinical perspective. Urinary continence in patients who underwent RARP recovered 1 month early than those treated with traditional RRP. The King’s Health questionnaire seems to confirm a positive effect of this outcome on the patient’s quality of life (QoL). Indeed, there were better results in the RARP compared with RRP group at 1 and 3 months after RP. Moreover, at 12 months after RP, patients who underwent RRP were more physically limited (P = 0.01) and took more precautions to avoid urine loss (P = 0.01) than those who received a RARP [1]. These data seem to be in conflict with the reported overlapping 12-month urinary continence rates (96% in RRP and 97% in RARP group). Moreover, looking at the 12-month urinary continence rate, the Geraerts et al. study does not confirm the results of a recent cumulative analysis of available comparative studies showing a better 12-month urinary continence rate after RARP compared with RRP (odds ratio 1.53; P = 0.03) [1].

Interestingly, the 12-month urinary continence rate reported after RRP by Geraerts et al. is significantly higher (96%) than the values reported in the comparative studies included in the meta-analysis (88.7%) and in the most important and recent RRP non-comparative series (60–93%) [5]. This aspect appears to confirm the important role of surgeon experience. Indeed, in this Belgium series most of the open procedures were performed by an expert surgeon with experience of >3000 RRPs, and thus able to reach excellent functional outcomes for urinary continence recovery. In favour of robotic surgeons, we could consider that they were able to reach overlapping results after <200 cases.

In conclusion, the study published by Geraerts et al. [1] showed that modern RP in expert hands is able to achieve excellent results for urinary continence recovery regardless of the approach. However, pure and RA laparoscopy has pushed open surgeons to improve technical and postoperative aspects to achieve comparable outcomes. RARP can offer some advantages over traditional RRP, above all for the time to reach urinary continence. This advantage seems to have generated a better QoL profile in patients who underwent RARP at 12 months after RP.

However, the choice between the two techniques must be taken according to all the most relevant parameters including perioperative, functional (continence and potency) and oncological outcomes. Therefore, we strongly support the publication of clinical series or comparative studies reporting results according to the ‘trifecta’, ‘pentafecta’ or SCP systems [6].

Vincenzo Ficarra°, Alessandro Iannettiand Alexandre Mottrie
OLV Vattikuti Robotic Surgery Institute, Aalst, Belgium, °Department of Experimental and Clinical Medical Sciences – Urology Unit – School of Medicine, University of Udine, 
and *Department of Surgical, Oncologic and Gastrointestinal Sciences, Padua, Italy


  1. Geraerts I, Van Poppel H, Devoogdt N, Van Cleynenbreugel B, Joniau S, Van Kampen M. Prospective evaluation of urinary incontinence, voiding symptoms and quality of life after open and robot-assisted radical prostatectomyBJU Int 2013; 112:936–943
  2. Tewari A, Srivasatava A, Menon M, Members of the VIP Team. A prospective comparison of radical retropubic and robot-assisted prostatectomy: experience in one institutionBJU Int 2003; 92: 205–210
  3. Kim SC, Song C, Kim W et al. Factors determining functional outcomes after radical prostatectomy: robot-assisted versus retropubicEur Urol 2011; 60: 413–419
  4. Ficarra V, Sooriakumaran P, Novara G et al. Systematic review of methods for reporting combined outcomes after radical prostatectomy and proposal of a novel system: the survival, continence, and potency (SCP) classificationEur Urol 2012; 61:541–548
  5. Ficarra V, Novara G, Rosen RC et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies reporting urinary continence recovery after robot-assisted radical prostatectomyEur Urol 2012; 62: 405–417
  6. Ficarra V, Borghesi M, Suardi N et al. Long-term evaluation of survival, continence and potency (SCP) outcomes after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP)BJU Int 2013; 112: 338–345

Video: Functional outcomes after ORP and RARP

Prospective evaluation of urinary incontinence, voiding symptoms and quality of life after open and robot-assisted radical prostatectomy

Inge Geraerts*, Hendrik Van Poppel, Nele Devoogdt*, Ben Van Cleynenbreugel, Steven Joniau and Marijke Van Kampen*

Departments of *Rehabilitation Science, Urology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, UZ Leuven, Leuven, Belgium


• To compare functional outcomes, i.e. urinary incontinence (UI), voiding symptoms and quality of life, after open (ORP) and robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP).


• Between September 2009 and July 2011, 180 consecutive patients underwent radical prostatectomy; of these, 116 underwent ORP and 64 underwent RARP. We prospectively assessed the functional outcomes of each group during the first year of follow-up.

• We measured UI on the 3 days before surgery (24-h pad test) and daily after surgery until total continence, defined as 3 consecutive days of 0 g urine leak, was achieved. Additionally, all patients were assessed before surgery and at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after surgery using the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) and the King’s Health Questionnaire (KHQ).

• All patients received pelvic floor muscle training until continence was achieved.

• Kaplan–Meier analyses and Cox regression with correction for covariates were used to compare time to continence. A Mann–Whitney U-test was used to assess IPSS and KHQ.


• Patients in the RARP group had a significantly lower D’Amico risk group allocation and underwent more nerve-sparing surgery. Other characteristics were similar.

• Patients in the RARP group regained continence sooner than those in the ORP group (P = 0.007). In the RARP group, the median time to continence (16 vs 46 days, P = 0.026) was significantly shorter and the median amount of first day UI (44 vs 186 g, P < 0.01) was significantly smaller than in the ORP group. After correction for all covariates, the difference remained significant (P = 0.036, hazard ratio [HR] 1.522 (1.027–2.255). In addition, younger men, men with positive surgical margins and men without preoperative incontinence achieved continence sooner.

• A comparison of time to continence between groups with a sufficient number of patients (intermediate risk and/or bilateral nerve-sparing) still showed a faster return of continence after RARP, but the effect decreased in size and was nonsignificant (HR>1.2, P> 0.05).

• Only six patients (two in the RARP and four in the ORP group) still had UI after 1 year.• Patients in the RARP group had significantly better IPSS scores at 1 (P = 0.013) and 3 (P = 0.038) months, and scored better in almost all KHQ aspects.


• In this prospective trial, patients treated with RARP tended to regain urinary continence sooner than patients treated with ORP, but in subgroup analyses statistical significance disappeared and effect size decreased dramatically, indicating that the results must be interpreted with caution.

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