Systematic review and meta-analysis of perioperative outcomes and complications after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy

Eur Urol. 2012 Sep;62(3):431-52. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2012.05.044. Epub 2012 Jun 2.


Context: Perioperative complications are a major surgical outcome for radical prostatectomy (RP).

Objective: Evaluate complication rates following robot-assisted RP (RARP), risk factors for complications after RARP, and surgical techniques to improve complication rates after RARP. We also performed a cumulative analysis of all studies comparing RARP with retropubic RP (RRP) or laparoscopic RP (LRP) in terms of perioperative complications.

Evidence acquisition: A systematic review of the literature was performed in August 2011, searching Medline, Embase, and Web of Science databases. A free-text protocol using the term radical prostatectomy was applied. The following limits were used: humans; gender (male); and publications dating from January 1, 2008. A cumulative analysis was conducted using Review Manager software v.4.2 (Cochrane Collaboration, Oxford, UK).

Evidence synthesis: We retrieved 110 papers evaluating oncologic outcomes following RARP. Overall mean operative time is 152 min; mean blood loss is 166 ml; mean transfusion rate is 2%; mean catheterization time is 6.3 d; and mean in-hospital stay is 1.9 d. The mean complication rate was 9%, with most of the complications being of low grade. Lymphocele/lymphorrea (3.1%), urine leak (1.8%), and reoperation (1.6%) are the most prevalent surgical complications. Blood loss (weighted mean difference: 582.77; p<0.00001) and transfusion rate (odds ratio [OR]: 7.55; p<0.00001) were lower in RARP than in RRP, whereas only transfusion rate (OR: 2.56; p=0.005) was lower in RARP than in LRP. All the other analyzed parameters were similar, regardless of the surgical approach.

Conclusions: RARP can be performed routinely with a relatively small risk of complications. Surgical experience, clinical patient characteristics, and cancer characteristics may affect the risk of complications. Cumulative analyses demonstrated that blood loss and transfusion rates were significantly lower with RARP than with RRP, and transfusion rates were lower with RARP than with LRP, although all other features were similar regardless of the surgical approach.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Prostatectomy / adverse effects*
  • Prostatectomy / methods
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Robotics*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome