PURPOSE: We describe surgical modifications in radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) which have significantly reduced the incidence of bladder neck contractures (BNC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Between March 1994-July 2005, 977 men underwent a RRP by a single surgeon. Group I comprised 548 patients operated upon July 1994-December 1999, without the modifications described below. Group II comprised 429 men operated upon January 2000-December 2004, with the following surgical modifications: 1) reconstruction of the bladder neck (BN) to a diameter of 28 French; 2) placement of the posterior (6 o?clock) vesicourethral suture on mild traction before placing this suture into the bladder, allowing inspection and, if necessary, replacement of any of the previously placed sutures; 3) bladder displacement when tying the vesicourethral sutures which allows the sutures to be tied under direct vision and prevents incorporation of extraneous tissue. Data were retrospectively analyzed.
RESULTS: Demographic data were comparable between groups. In group I, 31/548 (5.7%) developed a BNC compared to 1/429 (0.2%) in Group II, p < 0.001. Urinary continence (no pads/maximum of one light pad for security in 24 hours) at 12 months in the 32 patients who developed a BNC was worse when compared to patients who did not develop a BNC (58% versus 80%, p = 0.003). After excluding the patients who developed a BNC, continence rates were comparable between both groups. The positive margin rate at the BN was not adversely affected by these modifications.
CONCLUSIONS: Simple, easily applied modifications to the management of the BN and vesicourethral anastomosis can substantially reduce the incidence of BNC.