Short-, intermediate-, and long-term quality of life after laparoscopic radical prostatectomy--does the learning curve of LRP have a negative impact on patients' quality of life?

Department of Urology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
European Urology (Impact Factor: 10.48). 05/2007; 51(4):1004-12; discussion 1012-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.eururo.2006.10.065
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To evaluate quality of life (QoL) after laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP) and investigate whether the learning curve of laparoscopic novices has a negative influence on patients' QoL.
Evaluation of QoL with the EORTC QLQ C-30 and the PR25 preoperatively (t0) as well as postoperatively after 1-3 mo (t1), 4-6 mo (t2), 7-12 mo (t3), 13-24 mo (t4), and yearly thereafter (t5-t7). Surgeons were grouped according to their prior experience in laparoscopy into experienced and novices.
LRP was performed in 343 patients; 268 (78%) participated in the study. The mean patient age was 63.3+/-6.3 yr; mean PSA, 10.0+/-9.2 ng/ml; mean follow-up, 26 mo. Global health was impaired for t1 (p<0.001) and then returned to baseline. Emotional functioning improved (p<0.001) for t2-t7 versus baseline. Physical functioning remained impaired for t1-t2, and role and social functioning for t1-t6. Only sexual functioning did not return to baseline for t1-t7. Urinary symptoms were worse at t1 and then improved gradually (p<0.001). No significant difference in any QoL domain could be identified for experienced surgeons versus novices except for financial difficulties at t2-t3, which related to social differences. Thirty-one (9%) patients with adjuvant therapy had significantly worse global health, bowel symptoms, urinary symptoms, fatigue, and sexual functioning.
The learning curve of laparoscopic novices does not have a negative impact on patients' QoL. For intermediate- to long-term follow-up, patients reach their baseline or score even better in all domains except for sexual functioning but are significantly impaired if adjuvant treatment is performed.

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