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Objective: The aim of our study is to describe the use of posterior muscle-fascial reconstruction during urethro-ileal anastomosis in bladder cancer (BC) patients submitted to robot-assisted radical cystectomy (RC) with orthotopic neobladder (ON) and its role in facilitating day- and night-time continence recovery during a 12-month follow up.
Materials and methods: We prospectively collected data from 42 consecutive patients who underwent RARC with totally intracorporeal ON and extended pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) at our Institution from June 2014 to October 2017. Prior to the urethro-neobladder anastomosis we reconstructed the Denonvilliers Fascia (DF) as previously described for radical prostatectomy using a bidirectional barbed suture. Day and night-time recovery rates were reported at 3, 6 and 12 months after surgery, with continent patients being those using either no urinary pads or 1 safety pads.
Results: Median age at surgery was 63 yrs, 41 (97.6%) patients were male. 28 (66.7%) patients presented a clinical T2 disease. Median operative time and median ON reconstruction time were 450 minutes and 180 minutes respectively. 13 (31%) individuals had non-organ confined disease, with 11 (26.2%) patients with positive lymph nodes (median 3 positive lymph nodes) and 2 (4.8%) with non-urothelial cancer at final pathologic examination. Median hospital stay and median catheterization time were 7 (IQR 7-8) and 21 (IQR 19-22). During first 30 post-operative days we recorded 7 (16.7%) low-grade Clavien and 2 (4.8%) IIIa Clavien complications, whereas between 30 and 90 postoperative days we recorded 4 (9.5%) low-grade, 4 (9.5) IIIa and 1 (2.4%) IIIb complications. Day-time and night-time continence rates were 61.9% vs 52.4%, 73.8% vs 64.3% and 90.5% vs 73.8% at three, six and twelve months follow up. Day-time continence was significantly superior in the younger group (97% vs 57%, p 0.01); night-time continence rates were also superior among < 70 yrs patients, despite not reaching statistical significance (77% vs 57%, p 0.3).
Conclusions: Posterior muscle-fascial reconstruction aids continence recovery in BC patients undergoing RARC with ON, with younger and fitter patients most benefitting from ON reconstruction.