Objectives. Urethral length after radical prostatectomy has correlated positively with postoperative urinary continence. Because sparing the prostatic urethra may improve continence after prostatectomy, we evaluated anatomic and pathologic consequences of urethral-sparing surgery. Methods. From February to October 1999, 12 patients with clinically localized prostate cancer received a bladder neck-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy by one surgeon. At the time of operation, the prostatic urethra was anatomically dissected from the prostatectomy specimen and sent separately to pathology to evaluate for the presence of adenoma or prostate cancer. Results. All patients had clinically localized prostate cancer with routine preoperative evaluations, including negative bone scans for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) greater than 10 or Gleason score higher than 7. Pathologic specimens confirmed localized prostate cancer in 7 of 12 specimens. Positive margins were identified in 5, including 2 patients with locally advanced disease. All 12 urethral specimens showed residual prostate adenoma but no prostate cancer. Follow-up ranged from 8 to 16 months with a zero PSA for all evaluated. Conclusions. Residual prostate adenoma is found on dissected urethral specimens during radical retropubic prostatectomy. Although urethral-sparing prostatectomy may improve continence after radical prostatectomy, residual adenoma may confound follow-up PSA results. Furthermore, the malignant potential of the benign periurethral adenoma is unknown. The patient and clinician must understand the implications of residual prostatic tissue when performing urethral-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy.
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