Robotic and laparoscopic high extended pelvic lymph node dissection during radical cystectomy: Technique and outcomes

Mihir M. Desai, Andre K. Berger, Ricardo R. Brandina, Pascal Zehnder, Matthew Simmons, Monish Aron, Eila C. Skinner, Inderbir S. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Background: With the increasing use of laparoscopic and robotic radical cystectomy (RC), there are perceived concerns about the adequacy of lymph node dissection (LND). Objective: Describe the robotic and laparoscopic technique and the short-term outcomes of high extended pelvic LND (PLND) up to the inferior mesenteric artery (IMA) during RC. Design, setting, and participants: From January 2007 through September 2009, we performed high extended PLND with proximal extent up to the IMA (n = 10) or aortic bifurcation (n = 5) in 15 patients undergoing robotic RC (n = 4) or laparoscopic RC (n = 11) at two institutions. Surgical procedure: We performed robotic extended PLND with the proximal extent up to the IMA or aortic bifurcation. The LND was performed starting from the right external iliac, obturator, internal iliac, common iliac, preaortic and para-aortic, precaval, and presacral and then proceeding to the left side. The accompanying video highlights our detailed technique. Measurements: Median age was 69 yr, body mass index was 26, and American Society of Anesthesiologists class ≥3 was present in 40% of patients. All urinary diversions, including orthotopic neobladder (n = 5) and ileal conduit (n = 10), were performed extracorporeally. Results and limitations: All 15 procedures were technically successful without need for conversion to open surgery. Median operative time was 6.7 h, estimated blood loss was 500 ml, and three patients (21%) required blood transfusion. Median nodal yield in the entire cohort was 31 (range: 15-78). The IMA group had more nodes retrieved (median: 42.5) compared with the aortic bifurcation group (median: 20.5). Histopathology confirmed nodal metastases in four patients (27%), including three patients in the IMA group and one patient in the aortic bifurcation group. Perioperative complications were recorded in six cases (40%). During a median follow-up of 13 mo, no patient developed local or systemic recurrence. Limitations of the study include its retrospective design and small cohort of patients. Conclusions: High extended PLND during laparoscopic or robotic RC is technically feasible. Longer survival data in a larger cohort of patients are necessary to determine the proper place for robotic and laparoscopic surgery in patients undergoing RC for high-risk bladder cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-355
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bladder cancer
  • Laparoscopy
  • Pelvic lymph node dissection
  • Robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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