Does urethral length affect continence outcomes following robot assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RALP)?

Diwei Lin, Michael O'Callaghan, Rowan David, Andrew Fuller, Richard Wells, Peter Sutherland, Darren Foreman

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    Background: Post-operative urinary incontinence is a significant concern for patients choosing to undergo a radical prostatectomy (RP) for treatment of prostate cancer. The aim of our study was to determine the effect of pre-operative MUL on 12 month continence outcomes in men having robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP). Methods: We use the South Australian Prostate Cancer Clinical Outcomes Collaborative (SA-PCCOC) database, to identify 602 patients who had undergone RALP by a high volume surgeon. Only patients who received an assessment and education by a specialist pelvic floor physiotherapist, had completed EPIC questionnaires before treatment and did not have radiotherapy treatment within 12 months of surgery were included. MUL measurements were taken from pre-operative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The short-form version of the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC-26) was used to measure continence outcomes. Continence was defined as 100/100 in the EPIC-26 Urinary Continence domain score. Results: The observed median MUL in this study was 14.6 mm. There was no association between MUL and baseline continence. MUL was associated with continence at 12 months post RALP (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.03-1.21, p = 0.0098). In men who were continent before surgery, MUL was associated with return to continence at 12 months after RALP (OR 1.15, 1.05-1.28, p = 0.006). MUL was also associated with change in continence after surgery (β = 1.22, p = 0.002). Conclusions: MUL had no effect on baseline continence but had a positive and significant association with continence outcomes over 12 months post RALP.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number8
    Number of pages7
    JournalBMC Urology
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2020


    • Incontinence
    • Post-prostatectomy
    • Robotic-prostatectomy
    • Urethral length
    • Urology


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