Objective. Despite many known advantages, the radical perineal prostatectomy (RPP) had fallen out of favor because of the need for a second incision for the regional lymph node dissection. Laparoscopic lymphadenectomy, however, provides an accurate and minimally invasive alternative to open lymph node dissection. Herein are reported the practical advantages of combining laparoscopic lymph node dissection (LPLND) with RPP. Methods. Forty-nine patients with clinically localized carcinoma of the prostate were considered candidates for RPP using a modified Belt technique. Thirty-five patients underwent attempted LPLND and 31 of these patients subsequently underwent RPP; 14 patients underwent RPP alone. Variables examined included total operative time, transfusion requirement, length of hospital stay, continence, and potency. Results. The mean operative time for LPLND combined with RPP in 31 patients, including time for repositioning, was 4.5 hours (range 3.0 to 7.0 hours). Only 26 percent of the patients who underwent the combined approach required blood transfusions of which 75 percent received autologous units. Mean length of stay was six days, and laparoscopy did not contribute significantly to postoperative morbidity. Eighty-four percent of the patients are completely continent. Of 27 potent patients who underwent nerve-sparing surgery, 22 percent are potent and an additional 30 percent are sexually active with intracavernous pharmacotherapy. There were no perioperative deaths, 2 major complications, and 5 minor complications. Conclusions. Laparoscopic techniques now permit the urologist to utilize the perineal approach, and its many advantages, to radical prostatic extirpation without the need for a formal abdominal incision. The minimal blood loss and low morbidity associated with laparoscopic pelvic lymphadenectomy combined with the radical perineal prostatectomy make this procedure an attractive alternative to the open retropubic approach for clinically localized prostatic adenocarcinoma.
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