Optimizing radical prostatectomy for the early recovery of urinary continence

Nat Rev Urol. 2012 Jan 24;9(4):189-95. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2012.2.


Radical prostatectomy remains the gold-standard treatment for clinically localized prostate cancer. Although cancer control is the primary goal, secondary outcomes such as continence recovery are of great importance to patients. Thus, it is a challenge for prostate cancer surgeons to optimize continence outcomes without compromising oncologic results. Many high-volume surgeons have demonstrated excellent long-term continence rates in their patients, but early continence is variable and less than ideal even in expert hands. A plethora of individual technical maneuvers exist to optimize early recovery of continence, but as yet there is no composite technique that incorporates the relevant anatomic principles of minimizing damage to the urinary sphincters and their nerves, maximizing functional urethral length, creating a secure and watertight vesicourethral anastomosis, providing circumferential fascioligamentous support to the anastomosis and external sphincter, and ameliorating postoperative bladder descent. Our ten-step approach to collating these individual maneuvers into a unified technique could be used by surgeons to obtain the best possible early recovery of urinary control for their patients, without risking their oncologic outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prostatectomy / adverse effects
  • Prostatectomy / standards*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Urinary Incontinence / prevention & control*
  • Urinary Tract Physiological Phenomena