Assessment of complication and functional outcome reporting in the minimally invasive prostatectomy literature from 2006 to the present


A. Ari Hakimi, Department of Urology, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 3400 Bainbridge, MAP Bldg 5th Floor, Bronx, NY 10467, USA. e-mail:


What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?

Minimally invasive approaches to radical prostatectomy have been touted to lead to superior surgical and functional outcomes with less potential complications despite scant and often conflicting reports in the peer reviewed literature.

This review provides evidence that the minimally invasive prostatectomy literature still fails to meet the standards and critical benchmarks necessary for adequate complications reporting. Given our current release on observational studies. Increased effects should be made to standardize all complications and functional outcomes reporting for minimally invasive prostate cancer surgery.

To query the minimally invasive urological literature from 2006 to the middle of 2010, focusing on complications and functional outcome reporting in laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP) and robot-assisted LRP (RALP), to see if there has been an improvement in the overall reporting of complications. We performed a Medline search using the Medical Subject Heading terms ‘prostatectomy’, ‘laparoscopy’, ‘robotics’, and ‘minimally invasive’. We then applied the Martin criteria for complications reporting to the selected articles. We identified 51 studies for a total of 32 680 patients. When excluding functional outcomes the outpatient complications reporting was 20/51 (39.2%). In all, 35% and 43% of papers did not list any method for recording continence and potency, respectively. A complication grading system was only used in 30 studies (58.8%). Of the 16 papers using a grading scale in 2006–2007, only 31.3% used the Clavien system, compared with 69% from 2008 to the first half of 2010. In all, 27% of papers used some form of risk-factor analysis for complications. Multivariate analysis was used in 43% of papers, 29% looked at body mass index, while one looked at prostate weight, and another age. There has been an overall improvement in complications reporting in the minimally invasive RP literature since 2005. However, most studies still do not fulfil many of the criteria necessary for standardised complication reporting. Functional outcome reporting remains poor and unstandardised. Given our current reliance on observational studies, increased efforts should be made to standardise all complication outcomes reporting.