World Journal of Urology

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 31–38 | Cite as

Basic principles of anatomy for optimal surgical treatment of prostate cancer

  • Jochen Walz
  • Markus Graefen
  • Hartwig Huland
Topic Paper


The treatment of prostate cancer (PCa) with nerve sparing radical prostatectomy (NSRP) has experienced a substantial improvement in recent years due to new insights in anatomy of the prostate and of the adjacent structures. Knowledge of this specific anatomy is mandatory during RP in order to avoid injuries to functional tissue. Above all, these tissues are the neurovascular bundle (NVB) and the urethral sphincter. We therefore reviewed the available literature on prostatic anatomy and summarized it in this article. A search of the PubMed database was performed using the keywords radical prostatectomy, anatomy, neurovascular bundle, fascia, pelvis and sphincter. Relevant articles were reviewed, analyzed and summarized. This article gives an insight in the anatomy of the NVB, the urethral sphincter and the fascias surrounding the prostate. The NVB might be hampered near the seminal vesicles, at the lateral surface of the prostate and in the area of the prostato-urethral junction. The urethral sphincter might be hampered during dissection of the dorsal vein complex and during dissection of the urethra at the prostatic apex. Finally, the anatomy of the fascias surrounding the prostate is complex and can inter-individually vary substantially, which adds to the technical difficulties of NSRP. With this article we provide an overview on the complex anatomy of the prostate and the adjacent tissues. Respecting and considering these anatomic principles during NSRP should result in good postoperative functional outcome, as well as in good outcome in cancer control.


Prostate cancer Anatomy Neurovascular bundle Sphincter Radical prostatectomy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of UrologyUniversity Medical Centre EppendorfHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Martini ClinicProstate Cancer CentreHamburgGermany

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