Can nerve monitoring during radical prostatectomy improve functional outcomes? A randomised trial


OBJECTIVE: To explore how the use of the ProPep® Nerve Monitoring System (ProPep Surgical, Austin, TX, USA) for intraoperative specific sparing of the pudendal nerve fibres influences postoperative functional outcomes after unilateral nerve-sparing (UNS) or non-nerve-sparing (NNS) robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We randomised 100 men undergoing UNS or NNS RARP to ProPep nerve monitoring during RARP (intervention) or standard of care RARP (control). Functional outcomes were assessed at 3, 6, and 12 months using the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire Short Form (ICIQ-SF), the International Prostate Symptom Score, the Danish Prostate Symptom Score, the International Index of Erectile Function, the Erection Hardness Scale, and 24-h pad tests. The primary outcome was the difference in ICIQ-SF score between the groups at 12 months. Secondary outcomes included differences in the remaining outcome measures and continence rates at all time points. Continence was defined as the use of no pads and the answer 'Never' to the question: 'How often do you experience urinary incontinence?' or a urine loss of <8 g on the 24-h pad test.

RESULTS: A total of 82 patients were included in the per-protocol analysis at 12 months with 41 in each group. At 12 months the mean ICIQ-SF scores were 5.37 (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.71-7.03) and 5.66 (95% CI 4.05-7.27) for the intervention and control groups, respectively (P = 0.8). There were no statistically significant differences in any of the remaining outcomes. However, the continence rate was higher in the intervention group at 6 months (63% vs 44%, P = 0.09).

CONCLUSIONS: Intraoperative nerve monitoring did not result in better functional outcomes following UNS or NNS RARP. Larger studies are needed to explore if ProPep can reduce the time to continence after RARP.

TidsskriftB J U International (Print)
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 13 feb. 2024


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