Introduction: After an initial experience using transperitoneal laparoscopic radical prostatectomy as described by Vallancien and Guillonneau, we developed a pure extraperitoneal approach. This approach seems more comparable to the open technique and avoid potential risks of specific complications due to the transperitoneal approach. We evaluated the perioperative parameters (blood loss, operating time, transfusion rate) and postoperative results (oncological results, continence and potency) after our first 50 cases. Material and Method: Between September 1999 and September 2000, we performed 50 laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. On average, patients were 63.3 years old (range 47–71), had preoperative mean PSA values of 9.14 ng/ml (1.1–23). Median Gleason score was 6 (4–10) with 2.5 (1–6) positive biopsies for a mean prostate volume of 40 cm3 (17.5–95.0). Clinical stage was T1, T2a, T2b and T3 in 46.3, 41.5, 9.8 and 2.4% of the cases, respectively. We used a pure extraperitoneal approach and we performed a descending technique starting with the dissection at the bladder neck. The seminal vesicles dissection is comparable to the open approach. Results: 42 extraperitoneal and 8 transperitoneal procedures were performed (2 in the initial experience, 3 because of previous abdominal surgery and 3 because of incidental peritoneal opening). Mean operative time was 317 min, mean blood loss 680 cm3, transfusion rate of 13%. 1 patient/50 was converted to an open procedure. Pathological stage was pT1a, pT2a, pT2b, pT2c, pT3a and pT3b in 2.2, 8.5, 42.5, 2.2, 34 and 10.6% of cases, respectively. Positive surgical margins were observed in 22% of cases. The potency rate after neurovascular bilateral bundle preservation was 43% at 3 months (n = 7) and 67% at 6 months and (n = 6) without any further treatment. The continence rate (no pad) was 39% at 3 months and 85% at 6 months. Detectable postoperative PSA at 3 month was observed in 2 patients only. Two major complications occurred: one acute transient renal failure one uretrorectal fistula at day 20. Conclusions: The extraperitoneal laparoscopic radical prostatectomy results seem comparable to transperitoneal laparoscopic radical prostatectomy or open surgery. This approach is reproducible and seems to avoid the potential risks of intraperitoneal injury. Long–term follow up and comparative series are however necessary to further evaluate these new techniques.

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