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OBJECTIVES: • To report the potency and oncological outcomes of patients undergoing robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) using a risk-stratified approach based on layers of periprostatic fascial dissection. • We also describe the surgical technique of complete hammock preservation or nerve sparing grade 1. PATIENTS AND METHODS: • This is a retrospective study of 2317 patients who had robotic prostatectomy by a single surgeon at a single institution between January 2005 and June 2010. • Included patients were those with ≥ 1 year of follow-up and who were potent preoperatively, defined as having a sexual health inventory for men (SHIM) questionnaire score of >21; thus, the final number of patients in the study cohort was 1263. • Patients were categorized pre-operatively by a risk-stratified approach into risk grades 1-4, where risk grade 1 patients received nerve-sparing grade 1 or complete hammock preservation and so on for risk grades 2-4, as long as intraoperative findings permitted the planned nerve sparing. • We considered return to sexual function post-operatively by two criteria: i) ability to have successful intercourse (score of ≥ 4 on question 2 of the SHIM) and ii) SHIM >21 or return to baseline sexual function. RESULTS: • There was a significant difference across different NS grades in terms of the percentages of patients who had intercourse and returned to baseline sexual function (P < 0.001), with those that underwent NS grade 1 having the highest rates (90.9% and 81.7%) as compared to NS grades 2 (81.4% and 74.3%), 3 (73.5% and 66.1%), and 4 (62% and 54.5%). • The overall positive surgical margin (PSM) rates for patients with NS grades 1, 2, 3, and 4 were 9.9%, 8.1%, 7.2%, and 8.7%, respectively (P = 0.636). • The extraprostatic extension rates were 11.6%, 14.3%, 29.3%, and 36.2%, respectively (P < 0.001). • Similarly, in patients younger than 60, intercourse and return to baseline sexual function rates were 94.9% and 84.3% for NS grade 1 as compared to 85.5% and 77.2% for NS grades 2, 76.9% and 69% for NS grades 3, and 64.8% and 57.7% for NS Grade 4 (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: • The risk-stratified approach and anatomical technique of neural-hammock sparing described in the present manuscript was effective in improving potency outcomes of patients without compromising cancer control. • Patients with greater degrees of NS had higher rates of intercourse and return to baseline sexual function without an increase in PSM rates.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





984 - 992


Dissection, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Peripheral Nerve Injuries, Postoperative Complications, Prostate, Prostatectomy, Prostatic Neoplasms, Retrospective Studies, Risk Assessment, Robotics, Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological, Surgery, Computer-Assisted, Treatment Outcome