Lymph node status is an important determinant for the management of patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer. Given the significant limitations of cross-sectional and functional preoperative imaging in the detection of small metastases, pelvic lymph node dissection remains the only reliable staging method in clinically localized prostate cancer. Although lymph node dissection is a well-established form of staging in prostate cancer, controversy remains about indications and the surgical extent of the procedure. Reported practices vary from omitting pelvic lymph node dissection in low-risk disease to routine pelvic lymph node dissection in all radical prostatectomy patients. This review highlights the recent literature concerning pelvic lymphadenectomy in prostate cancer with respect to anatomical extent and oncologic outcome.