Objectives: Approximation of the bladder to urethra during robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) is a critical step toward achieving long-term continence. To determine the impact on surgical outcomes after RALP, we compare two techniques for constructing the vesicourethral anastomosis. Methods: One hundred fifty-four men underwent RALP by one surgeon between 2005 and 2007. The vesicourethral anastomosis was performed in a standard Van Velthoven fashion for the first 61 patients. The anastomosis in the remaining 93 patients was performed in a running fashion with the sutures under continuous tension applied by the surgical assistant and the third robotic arm. Operative times and surgical outcomes were recorded prospectively. Results: When comparing standard Van Velthoven to continuous tension anastomosis, we demonstrate equivalent oncologic outcomes, continence and time required for the anastomosis. Yet, the frequency of complications related to the anastomotic technique, such as urine leaks, bladder neck contractures and migrated hemo-lock clips, were significantly lower with the continuous tension technique compared to the standard Van Velthoven running anastomosis. Conclusions: Performing the vesicourethral anastomosis under continuous tension demonstrated improved outcomes compared to the Van Velthoven anastomosis by allowing persistent close apposition of the bladder to urethra. Additionally, the learning curve associated with implementation of a new anastomotic technique was negligible.
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