• robotics;
  • robotic prostatectomy;
  • radical prostatectomy;
  • prostate



We describe a teamwork approach to setting up the UK's first clinical programme for robotically assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy.


On 22 November 2004 the Imperial Robotic Urological Surgery Group performed their first robotically assisted prostatectomy. Robotically assisted prostatectomy lends itself to division into eight definable stages. A team of four consultant urological surgeons utilized a structured rotating system, using these stages, for time at the console and tableside assisting. Fluidity of surgery was maintained by a surgeon acting as the tableside assistant for the stage prior to moving to the console. Data was collected prospectively for the first 50 cases and parameters associated with the learning curve compared to other reported series.


Median operative time of 369.5 mins, median blood loss of 700 ml, with 12% of patients requiring a blood transfusion. Four patients required conversion to an open procedure; one resulting from equipment failure and three due to failure of progression. Four patients had an anastomotic leak with resulting ileus and two patients sustained rectal injuries, which were repaired intraoperatively using the robot. Median hospital stay was 4 days with a 22% positive surgical margin rate.


Parameters indicative of the learning curve are comparable to existing published initial series of other robotic centres. The use of teamwork has enabled us to provide safe and time-efficient training for four surgeons simultaneously. The structured approach used in this setting demonstrates that urological surgeons of varying laparoscopic experience can acquire the skills necessary to competently perform laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.