Preliminary Comparative Effectiveness of Robotic Versus Open Radical Cystectomy in Elderly Patients

J Endourol. 2016 Feb;30(2):212-7. doi: 10.1089/end.2015.0457. Epub 2015 Oct 8.


Introduction: Treatment for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) remains highly morbid despite improving surgical techniques. As the median age of diagnosis is 73, many patients are elderly at the time of cystectomy. We compare perioperative surgical outcomes in elderly patients undergoing robotic vs open radical cystectomy (RC).

Materials and methods: Patients >75 years at time of RC were identified. Demographic, clinicopathologic, and perioperative variables were examined. Estimated blood loss (EBL) and length of stay (LOS) data were collected with multivariate linear regression analysis performed to assess whether technique was independently associated with outcomes.

Results: Eighty-seven patients >75 years of age underwent cystectomy for MIBC (58 open, 29 robotic). Mean age was 79.6 (±3.2) and 79.2 (±3.5) for open and robotic groups, respectively (p = 0.64). There were no significant differences in baseline comorbidities, clinical or pathologic stage, or use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The mean number of lymph nodes removed was similar (p = 0.08). Robotic cystectomy had significantly longer mean OR times (p < 0.001). On multivariate analyses, robotic surgery was associated with -389cc less EBL (95% CI -547 to -230, p < 0.001) and a -1.5-day-shortened LOS (95%CI -2.9 to -0.2, p = 0.02) compared with open surgery. There were no significant differences in surgical complications or 90-day readmission rates between the two groups.

Conclusions: Robotic cystectomy is safe and feasible in an elderly population. We observed longer OR times with robotic surgery, but with decreased EBL, shorter hospital stays, and comparable complication and readmission rates with open RC. Larger prospective studies are required to confirm these findings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / surgery*
  • Cystectomy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / surgery*