A Critical Analysis of the Current Knowledge of Surgical Anatomy of the Prostate Related to Optimisation of Cancer Control and Preservation of Continence and Erection in Candidates for Radical Prostatectomy: An Update.

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European urology


CONTEXT: In 2010, we published a review summarising the available literature on surgical anatomy of the prostate and adjacent structures involved in cancer control and the functional outcome of prostatectomy.

OBJECTIVE: To provide an update based on new literature to help the surgeon improve oncologic and surgical outcomes of radical prostatectomy (RP).

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: We searched the PubMed database using the keywords radical prostatectomy, anatomy, neurovascular bundle, nerve, fascia, pelvis, sphincter, urethra, urinary continence, and erectile function. Relevant articles and textbook chapters published since the last review were critically reviewed, analysed, and summarised. Moreover, we integrated aspects that were not addressed in the last review into this update.

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: We found new evidence for several topics. Up to 40% of the cross-sectional surface area of the urethral sphincter tissue is laterally overlapped by the dorsal vascular complex and might be injured during en bloc ligation. Denonvilliers fascia is fused with the base of the prostate in a horizontal fashion dorsally/caudally of the seminal vesicles, requiring sharp detachment when preserved. During extended pelvic lymph node dissection, the erectile nerves are at risk in the presacral and internal iliac area. Dissection planes for nerve sparing can be graded according to the amount of tissue left on the prostate as a safety margin against positive surgical margins. Vascular structures can serve as landmarks. The urethral sphincter and its length after RP are influenced by the shape of the apex. Taking this shape into account allows preservation of additional sphincter length with improved postoperative continence.

CONCLUSIONS: This update provides additional, detailed information about the surgical anatomy of the prostate and adjacent tissues involved in RP. This anatomy remains complex and widely variable. These details facilitate surgical orientation and dissection during RP and ideally should translate into improved outcomes.

PATIENT SUMMARY: Based on recent anatomic findings regarding the prostate and its surrounding tissue, the urologist can individualise the dissection during RP according to cancer and patient characteristics to improve oncologic and functional results at the same time.

Medical Subject Headings

Anatomy, Cross-Sectional; Erectile Dysfunction; Humans; Male; Postoperative Complications; Prostate; Prostatectomy; Prostatic Neoplasms; Urinary Incontinence

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