Therapeutic supine robotic retroperitoneal lymph node dissection for post-chemotherapy residual masses in testicular cancer: technique and outcome analysis of initial experience


Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) is a therapeutic standard of care for post-chemotherapy residual masses in testicular cancer. While a robotic approach to this procedure has the potential of decreasing the morbidity associated with this major endeavour, it is often criticised for its inability to provide a bilateral complete template resection without redocking and repositioning the patient. Herein, we present the technique and initial outcomes of a supine approach to Robotic RPLND (R-RPLND) using the da Vinci Xi® system, which obviates the need for repositioning or redocking for a bilateral full template resection. Three patients (age 21–36) with nonseminomatous germ cell tumours of the testis underwent R-RPLND for post-chemotherapy residual retroperitoneal masses with normalised tumor markers. Salient steps of the procedure were as follows: port placement in supine Trendelenburg position, docking of the da Vinci Xi® system from one side, exposure of retroperitoneum, dissection of paracaval, retrocaval, interaortocaval, paraaortic and bilateral common iliac templates, and excision of gonadal vein. Mean console time and estimated blood loss were 257 (190–305) minutes and 333 (300–400) ml, respectively. Mean lymph node yield was 52 (29–94). One patient had a common iliac vein injury which was managed robotically without further consequence. No drains were placed in all three. There were no postoperative complications and all of them were advanced to a normal diet within 24 h and discharged on the second postoperative day. Histopathology reports were suggestive of necrosis and mature teratoma without any viable tumour. There have been no recurrences in these patients at a mean follow-up of 14 (1–22) months. R-RPLND in the supine position is practical, safe and feasible in the post-chemotherapy setting of testicular cancer. It eliminates the need for repositioning the patient or redocking the robot to achieve a complete resection with adequate lymph node yields, while preserving the benefits of a minimally invasive surgical approach.

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Correspondence to Gagan Gautam.

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Author Ashwin Sunil Tamhankar, Author Saurabh Patil, Author Surya Prakash Ojha, Author Puneet Ahluwalia and Author Gagan Gautam declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Tamhankar, A.S., Patil, S.R., Ojha, S.P. et al. Therapeutic supine robotic retroperitoneal lymph node dissection for post-chemotherapy residual masses in testicular cancer: technique and outcome analysis of initial experience. J Robotic Surg 13, 747–756 (2019).

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  • Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection
  • Da Vinci Xi® system
  • Post-chemotherapy residual masses in testicular cancer
  • Robotic RPLND