Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 663–667 | Cite as

Fascia surrounding the prostate: clinical and anatomical basis of the nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy

  • Jean-Nicolas Cornu
  • Véronique Phé
  • Georges Fournier
  • Vincent Delmas
  • Philippe Sèbe
Original Article



Nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy (NSRP) is based on anatomical considerations that are still controversial. The aim of this study is to define and describe the anatomy of the fascias surrounding the prostate in a histoembryologic model and during open and laparoscopic approaches to assess their importance in surgical practice.


An anatomical dissection of three fresh cadavers was conducted to reproduce an open approach. Complementary data under laparoscopic conditions were obtained from images captured from the video feed during a laparoscopic NSRP performed via a transperitoneal approach. A histological study of one fresh 25-week human male fetus, obtained following miscarriage, was also conducted to document the embryologic development of the identified fascias.


Three fascias surrounding the prostate can clearly be individualized both in histologic and clinical conditions. The endopelvic fascia (EF), the prostatic fascia (PF) and the Denonvilliers’ fascia (DF) recover the prostate gland and structure the periprostatic environment. Neurovascular bundles are situated in a triangle formed by PF, EF and DF. Interfascial dissection (between EF and PF) allows nerve-sparing surgery.


When performing radical prostatectomy, it is mandatory to locate EF, PF and DF precisely to respect the neurovascular bundles. Nevertheless, cancer extension and anatomic variations can lead to more extensive procedures.


Prostatic fascia Neurovascular bundles Cavernous nerves Interfascial dissection 



Experiments done in this work complied with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Nicolas Cornu
    • 1
  • Véronique Phé
    • 1
  • Georges Fournier
    • 2
  • Vincent Delmas
    • 3
  • Philippe Sèbe
    • 1
  1. 1.Urology DepartmentTenon Hospital, University Paris 6Paris Cedex 20France
  2. 2.Department of UrologyCHU Brest, Hôpital de la Cavale Blanche Bd PrigentBrest Cedex 2France
  3. 3.Department of AnatomyUniversity Paris 5ParisFrance

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