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Home E-Weekly April 30, 2013

Robot-Assisted Prostatectomy Doesn't Improve Outcomes

Published: April 29, 2013

Robot-assisted radical prostatectomy doesn't improve outcomes over the laparoscopic approach, according to research published in the journal Urology. The study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that robots may not be as revolutionary as advertised.

Researchers compared 2 groups of 210 patients who had had either robot-assisted or laparoscopic-approach routine procedures for radical prostatectomy. The 2 groups were assessed with questionnaires at baseline, and at 3-, 12- and 36-month follow-ups. At 36 months, 87.9% of the laparoscopy patients reported having regained baseline urinary function, and 57.3% said they'd regained baseline sexual function. For the robotic group, 82.6% had regained baseline urinary function and 61.3% baseline sexual function.

"Introduction of [robot-assisted prostatectomy] did not result in improvement of functional outcome," write the researchers. While "better urinary function was associated with better general mental health," neither surgical method was found to deliver more effective urinary function or sexual function at 36 months.

Stephanie Wasek

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