Urinary bladder cancers arise from the inner epithelial (urothelium) covering of the bladder. They can range from superficial to metastatic (distant spread) disease at presentation. In treating these cancers an attempt is always made to preserve the urinary bladder. Low risk superficial bladder cancers can be treated with BCG instillation into bladder. However, radical cystectomy (removal of entire urinary bladder along with draining lymph nodes in the pelvis) is the treatment of choice for high-risk superficial disease as well as localized but muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Chemoradiation (chemotherapy along with radiation) can be used in muscle invasive cancers in order to avoid radical cystectomy. This is called bladder conservation protocol. By this patients can have normal voiding till there is a recurrence (usually for 2 years). Salvage cystectomy is performed once there is recurrence following chemoradiation.

  • Laparoscopic radical cystectomy

    Traditionally radical cystectomy has been performed using an open approach via a liberal lower abdominal incision that allows wide excision of the bladder, lymph node dissection and urinary diversion procedure. Laparoscopy was first used for removal of the urinary bladder in 1992 for a non-cancerous disease. Subsequent advances have allowed a laparoscopic radical cystectomy to be performed safely. There are many small single institution studies which have compared robotic assisted laparoscopic with open surgery. Overall the results have consistently shown lower morbidity and shorter time to start oral feeds.

    Studies available today on minimally invassive radical cystectomy are small and single institutional. Unfortunately there are no randimised controlled trials comparing the open with minimally invasive modality. The largest published series on laproscopic radical cystectomy is by Huang J et al who reported the oncological outcomes of 171 patients with a median follow-up of 3 years. All patients had an orthotopic ileal neobladder constructed extracorporeally. They did note have to convert any patients to open. They had median operating time of 5.4 hours which is comparable to open surgery. The pathological evaluation showed no positive surgical margins. Guillotreau et al have prospectively compared the outcomes in 38 laparoscopic with 30 open cases for blood loss, transfusion rate, minor complications, mortality, opioid requirement, resumption of oral intake and hospital discharge which were all significantly shorter in the laparoscopy group. Of interest in that study is that patients spent 4 days after laparoscopic surgery in an intensive-care unit, compared to 9 days after open. Porpigila et al. has reported no significant difference in operative time, blood loss or complications, with significantly less analgesic requirement and a shorter time to resumption of oral intake in laparoscopic surgery than the open group. Most of the other studies that are available today have shown similar results indicating feasibility and comparability of laparoscopic radical cystectomy with open modality.

    Urologists were the first ones to embrace robotics when it made an entry into medicine. Due to anatomical difficulties in pelvic surgeries which make laparoscopy difficult, robot has been used for pelvic urological surgeries. Conceptually the laparoscopic and robotic differ only in instrumentation and comfort for the surgeon.

  • Recommendation

    The presently available evidence is strong enough to call MACS for urinary bladder cancer oncologically safe procedure and is comparable to open procedure in oncological outcomes along with all the advantages of MACS. Careful case selection is recommended.

  • Further reading
    • Parra RO, Andrus CH, Jones JP, Boullier JA. Laparoscopic cystectomy: initial report on a new treatment for the retained bladder. J Urol 1992; 148:1140.
    • Haber GP, Campbell SC, Colombo JR Jr, et al. Perioperative outcomes with laparoscopic radical cystectomy: "pure laparoscopic" and "open-assisted laparoscopic" approaches. Urology 2007; 70:910.
    • Pruthi RS, Nielsen ME, Nix J, et al. Robotic radical cystectomy for bladder cancer: surgical and pathological outcomes in 100 consecutive cases. J Urol 2010; 183:510.
    • Wang GJ, Barocas DA, Raman JD, Scherr DS. Robotic vs open radical cystectomy: prospective comparison of perioperative outcomes and pathological measures of early oncological efficacy. BJU Int 2008; 101:89.
    • Guillotreau J, Gamé X, Mouzin M, et al. Radical cystectomy for bladder cancer: morbidity of laparoscopic versus open surgery. J Urol 2009; 181:554.
    • Chade DC, Laudone VP, Bochner BH, Parra RO. Oncological outcomes after radical cystectomy for bladder cancer: open versus minimally invasive approaches. J Urol 2010; 183:862.
    • Haber GP, Gill IS. Laparoscopic radical cystectomy for cancer: oncological outcomes at up to 5 years. BJU Int 2007; 100:137.
    • Cathelineau X, Arroyo C, Rozet F, et al. Laparoscopic assisted radical cystectomy: the montsouris experience after 84 cases. Eur Urol 2005; 47:780.
    • DeGer S, Peters R, Roigas J, et al. Laparoscopic radical cystectomy with continent urinary diversion (rectosigmoid pouch) performed completely intracorporeally: an intermediate functional and oncologic analysis. Urology 2004; 64:935.
    • Simonato A, Gregori A, Lissiani A, et al. Laparoscopic radical cystoprostatectomy: our experience in a consecutive series of 10 patients with a 3 years follow-up. Eur Urol 2005; 47:785.
    • El-Tabey NA, Shoma AM. Port site metastases after robot-assisted laparoscopic radical cystectomy. Urology 2005; 66:1110.
    • Tanaka K, Hara I, Takenaka A, et al. Incidence of local and port site recurrence of urologic cancer after laparoscopic surgery. Urology 2008; 71:728.
    • Martin AD, Nunez RN, Pacelli A, et al. Robot-assisted radical cystectomy: intermediate survival results at a mean follow-up of 25
    • months. BJU Int 2010; 105:1706.
    • Kauffman EC, Ng CK, Lee MM, et al. Early oncological outcomes for bladder urothelial carcinoma patients treated with robotic-assisted radical cystectomy. BJU Int 2011; 107:628.
    • Ng CK, Kauffman EC, Lee MM, et al. A comparison of postoperative complications in open versus robotic cystectomy. Eur Urol 2010; 57:274.
    • Nix J, Smith A, Kurpad R, et al. Prospective randomized controlled trial of robotic versus open radical cystectomy for bladder cancer: perioperative and pathologic results. Eur Urol 2010; 57:196.
  • Simple info for cancer patient

Consult Team MACS at


MACS Clinic

#350, 1st Floor, 2nd Cross, 1st Block, Near Ashoka Pillar, Behind PTA School, Jayanagar Bangalore-560011,
Karnataka, India

  Google Map

HCG (Center for Robotics)

Ground Floor, Tower 3, HCG Hospital,P.Kalinga Rao Road, Sampangiram Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560027

  Google Map

Sagar Hospitals

No. 44/54, 30th Cross, Tilaknagar, Jayanagar Extension, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560041, India

  Google Map

On appointments only : +91 9482202240