Objectives. To perform a multi-institutional review of the incidence and factors contributing to conversion from laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP) to open radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) among eight surgeons. Methods. The medical records from all patients undergoing LRP at seven institutions were reviewed to assess the incidence of open conversion to RRP. The clinical, operative, pathologic, and functional outcomes of patients who required conversion were compiled and analyzed. Results. Of 670 operations, 13 (1.9%) were converted from LRP to RRP. The most common steps at which conversion occurred were the apical dissection (38%) and the posterior seminal vesicle dissection (31%). Failure to progress was the most common cause of conversion, followed by injury to adjacent structures and hypercarbia. Comorbidities associated with conversion were prior pelvic surgery and obesity (body mass index greater than 30). Six of the 13 conversions occurred in the surgeons' first 5 cases. Despite open conversion, patients were continent (no pads) (92%) and potent (44%) with at least 6 months of follow-up. Conclusions. Open conversion from LRP to RRP is an uncommon event, but is more likely to occur during a surgeon's early experience. Surgeons beginning their experience with LRP are advised to select their patients carefully to minimize the need for conversion to open surgery. Obese patients and those at risk of periprostatic adhesions should initially not be considered for LRP. Despite open conversion, the functional outcomes did not appear to be adversely affected.
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