The question is: Are positive surgical margins more common after treatment of prostate cancer with Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy versus Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy?
Positive surgical margins are the margins of the specimen, in this case the prostate, that are inked by the doctor called a pathologist.
A positive surgical margin or multiple positive margins implies a higher likelihood of spread of the cancer being found outside of the prostate either at the time of removal or in the future. In other words, the cancer was not contained at the time of removal. Hence, answering the question: “Are positive surgical margins more common after treatment of prostate cancer with Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy versus Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy?” is valid.
In the journal, Urology, the november issue Dr Stephen Williams and senior publisher, Dr. Jerome Richie set out to answer this question. The study involved 950 men treated over three years from 2005 to 2008. Men treated with robotic-assisted prostatectomy for prostate cancer are 1.9 times more likely to have a positive surgical margin versus men treated with the traditional open radical prostatectomy.
This is a statistic is worth looking at prior to making a decision on surgical treatment for prostate cancer.
In my opinion, the experience of the urologist performing the robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy plays a big role in resulting positive surgical margins after treatment, as well as the size and anatomy of the prostate. Larger prostates may be more difficult to remove at the apex (front) of the prostate.