A novel method of bladder neck imbrication to improve early urinary continence following robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy


Early return of continence forms an important component of quality of life for patients after robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy (RALP). Here we describe the steps of bladder neck imbrication and vesico-urethral anastomosis improving early continence after RALP. Between April 2008 and July 2009, 202 consecutive patients underwent RALP for clinically localised prostate cancer in a tertiary referral centre by a single surgeon. One hundred and thirty-two (65 %) of these patients agreed to participate in the study. Prior to November 2008, 51 patients underwent standard RALP as described by Patel et al. From November 2008, 81 patients underwent a novel method of bladder neck imbrication. The robotic urethro-vesical anastomosis commences on the posterior wall of the urethra and proceeds anteriorly. In our technique the anastomosis is halted with the suture arms fixed to the anterior abdominal wall. A new suture is used to perform a two-layer repair, anchoring proximally then continuing anteriorly to the level of the urethral stump, where it returns upon itself. The aim is to narrow the urethra to 16 Fr and tighten the second layer to create an imbrication effect. Posterior reconstruction was performed in all patients. Outcome measures were recorded prospectively using the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite tool. Our technique shows significant improvement at all stages of follow-up in urinary summary and incontinence scores. Absolute continence rates increased from 8.2 to 20.5 %, 26.7 to 44.3 %, and 47.7 to 62.3 % at 1.5, 3 and 6 months, respectively. These results support the use of our technique in patients undergoing RALP.

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Prostate Cancer Research at the St. Vincent’s Prostate Cancer Centre and the Garvan Institute is supported in part by grants from the St. Vincent’s Prostate Cancer Centre, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, Cancer Institute New South Wales, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Australian Cancer Research Foundation, the R.T. Hall Trust and the Petre Foundation. We would like to thank M. Bayzid Rahman of UNSW for initial statistical modelling and Nicola Armstrong of the Garvan Institute for her formal statistical analyses.

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Correspondence to P. D. Stricker.

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Beattie, K., Symons, J., Chopra, S. et al. A novel method of bladder neck imbrication to improve early urinary continence following robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy. J Robotic Surg 7, 193–199 (2013).

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  • Robotic surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Radical prostatectomy
  • Localised prostate cancer
  • Continence
  • Bladder neck anastomosis