OBJECTIVE: To prospectively compare perioperative and pathological outcomes in a consecutive series of patients undergoing radical cystectomy (RC) and urinary diversion by the open or the robotic approach. PATIENTS AND METHODS: From February 2006 to April 2007, 54 consecutive patients underwent RC by one surgeon at our institution. Twenty-one were open, while 33 utilized the da Vinci robotic system (Intuitive Surgical, Sunnyvale, CA, USA). Data was collected prospectively, including patient demographics, operative and postoperative variables, and pathological outcomes. RESULTS: The robotic cohort had decreased blood loss (400 vs 750 mL, P = 0.002) and transfusion requirement (2.0 vs 0.5 units, P = 0.007), but increased operative duration (390 vs 300 min, P = 0.03). The time to resumption of a regular diet (4 vs 5 days, P = 0.002) and the hospital stay (5 vs 8 days, P = 0.007) were decreased in the robotic group. Overall the complication rates were similar (24% open, 21% robotic, P = 0.3). The open cohort had more patients with extravesical disease (57 vs 28%, P = 0.03) and nodal metastasis (34 vs 19%, P = 0.04). There were three patients in the open group and two in the robotic with positive margins (P = 0.2). The median number of lymph nodes removed was similar in the open and robotic cohorts (20 vs 17, P = 0.6). CONCLUSION: Robotic-assisted RC appears to offer some operative and perioperative benefits compared with the open approach without compromising pathological measures of early oncological efficacy, such as lymph node yield and margin status. Larger, randomized studies with long-term follow-up are required to confirm these findings and establish oncological equivalence.
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