The influence of previous robotic experience in the initial learning curve of laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
ABSTRACT Introduction: This study analyzed the impact of the experience with Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy (RALP) on the initial experience with Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (LRP) by examining perioperative results and early outcomes of 110 patients. LRPs were performed by two ro-botic fellowship trained surgeons with daily practice in RALP. Patients and Methods: 110 LRP were performed to treat aleatory selected patients. The patients were divided into 4 groups for prospective analyses. A transperitoneal approach that simulates the RALP technique was used. Results: The median operative time was 163 minutes (110-240), and this time significantly decreased through case 40, when the time plateaued (p=0.0007). The median blood loss was 250mL. No patients required blood transfusion. There were no life-threatening complications or deaths. Minor complications were uniformly distributed along the series (P=0.6401). The overall positive surgical margins (PSM) rate was 28.2% (20% in pT2 and 43.6% in pT3). PSM was in the prostate apex in 61.3% of cases. At the 12-month follow-up, 88% of men were continent (0-1 pad). Conclusions: The present study shows that there are multiple learning curves for LRP. The shallowest learning curve was seen for the operative time. Surgeons transitioning between the RALP and LRP techniques were considered competent based on the low perioperative complication rate, absence of major complications, and lack of blood transfusions. This study shows that a learning curve still exists and that there are factors that must be considered by surgeons transitioning between the two techniques.