Characteristics of Certifying Urologists Performing Cystectomies in the United States

Andrew S. Flum, Daniel T. Oberlin, Laurie Bachrach, Borko D. Jovanovic, Irene B. Helenowski, Sarah C. Flury, Joshua J. Meeks*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: The surgical volume and training of the surgeon performing radical cystectomy can have a significant impact on bladder cancer outcomes. We hypothesize significant variability in the training and volume of surgeons performing radical cystectomy in the United States. Methods: The 6-month case log data of urologists certifying between 2003 and 2013 were obtained from the American Board of Urology. Cases specifying an ICD-9 code for bladder cancer and a CPT code for radical cystectomy were analyzed for surgeon specific variables. Results: A total of 5,335 radical cystectomies in the case log system were performed by 2,102 urologists, with 289 (5.4%) performed laparoscopically or robotically. Median urologist age was 42 years (range 36 to 50). Median number of cystectomies performed was 2 (IQR 1-3) with the top 10% of urologists performing 5 or more cystectomies. Half of cystectomies were performed by a urologist who performed only 1 during the certification period. On multivariable analysis stated specialty of oncology and nonprivate practice type were associated with top 10% cystectomy volume. For minimally invasive cystectomy 54% of surgeons logged only a single minimally invasive cystectomy. Factors predictive of performing minimally invasive cystectomy on multivariable analysis were male gender, more recent certifying year and original certification year, endourology and urolithiasis specialization, and Northeast practice region. Conclusions: Despite the high level of complexity associated with the surgical management of bladder cancer with radical cystectomy, the majority of cystectomies seem to be performed by low volume surgeons who have most often applied for their first certification with the American Board of Urology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-372
Number of pages6
JournalUrology Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • Cystectomy
  • Robotic surgical procedures
  • Urinary bladder neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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