Enthusiasm for laparoscopic surgical approaches to prostate cancer treatment has grown, despite limited evidence of improved outcomes compared with open radical prostatectomy. We compared laparoscopic (with or without robotic assistance) versus open radical prostatectomy in terms of postoperative outcomes and subsequent cancer-directed therapy.
Materials and Methods
Using a population-based cancer registry linked with Medicare claims, we identified men age 66 or older with localized prostate cancer who received a radical prostatectomy from 2003-2005. Outcome measures were general medical/surgical complications and mortality within 90 days following surgery; genitourinary/bowel complications within 365 days; receipt of radiation therapy, androgen deprivation therapy or both within 365 days; length of hospital stay.
Of the 5,923 men,18% received a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Adjusting for patient and tumor characteristics, there were no differences in rates of general medical/surgical complications (OR 0.93; 95% CI: 0.77-1.14) or genitourinary/bowel complications (OR 0.96; 95% CI: 0.76-1.22) or in the use of postoperative radiation, androgen deprivation or both (OR 0.80; 95% CI: 0.60-1.08). Laparoscopic prostatectomy was associated with a 35% shorter hospital stay (p<0.0001) and a lower rate of bladder neck/urethral obstruction (OR 0.74; 95% CI 0.58-0.94). In laparoscopic patients, surgeon volume was inversely associated with length of hospital stay and the odds of any genitourinary/bowel complication.
Laparoscopic and open radical prostatectomy have similar rates of postoperative morbidity and use of additional treatment. Men considering prostate cancer surgery should understand the expected benefits and risks of each technique to facilitate decision-making and to set realistic expectations.
Keywords: prostate, prostatic neoplasms, prostatectomy, minimally invasive surgical procedures, laparoscopy