Anatomical grades of nerve sparing: a risk-stratified approach to neural-hammock sparing during robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP).
Tewari AK., Srivastava A., Huang MW., Robinson BD., Shevchuk MM., Durand M., Sooriakumaran P., Grover S., Yadav R., Mishra N., Mohan S., Brooks DC., Shaikh N., Khanna A., Leung R.
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.