Minimizing the learning curve for robotic-assisted radical cystectomy

A single-surgeon, retrospective, cohort study


  • Raees Cassim Mcmaster
  • Braden Millan McMaster University
  • Yanbo Guo McMaster University
  • Jennifer Hoogenes McMaster University
  • Bobby Shayegan McMaster University



Robotic, Bladder Cancer, Cystectomy, MIS, Innovation, Learning curve


INTRODUCTION: Studies published to date have suggested non-inferiority of roboticassisted radical cystectomy (RARC) compared to open radical cystectomy (ORC), while few centers in Canada have adopted this approach. Though multifactorial, the learning curve and operative time are often discussed barriers. Herein, we present outcomes from the largest Canadian cohort of RARC performed to date.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients undergoing RARC by a single surgeon with greater than 1500 robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) experience at our institution from May 2020 to December 2021. Clinicopathological, intraoperative, and postoperative data, as well as complications in the first 90 days, were collected. Regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between case volume and operative time/lymph node yield.

RESULTS: A total of 31 patients underwent RARC during the study period, 26 of which were male. The median length of stay was six days (Q1–Q3 5–10), while days alive and out of hospital at 90 days were 83 days (Q1–Q3 80–85). Soft tissue margins were positive in 9.6% (3/31) of patients. Median lymph node yield was 17.0 lymph nodes (Q1–Q3 11–23). Median operative time was 241 minutes (Q1–Q3 228–252) in the ileal conduit group and 320 minutes (Q1–Q3 302–337) in the neobladder group. We observed four Clavien-Dindo grade >3 complications. The 90-day readmission rate and mortality rate were 17.2% (5) and 0% (0), respectively. There was no correlation between case volume and any outcome variables.

CONCLUSIONS: Previous high-volume experience performing RARP reduces the learning curve for performing RARC, with similar short-term outcomes to high-volume centers.


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How to Cite

Cassim, R., Millan, B., Guo, Y., Hoogenes, J., & Shayegan, B. (2023). Minimizing the learning curve for robotic-assisted radical cystectomy: A single-surgeon, retrospective, cohort study. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 17(9), E252–6.



Original Research