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Objective: We describe our technique for preservation of the smooth muscular internal (vesical) sphincter and proximal urethra during radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) and present our preliminary clinical results. Materials and methods: The first steps of the prostatectomy reflect the standard RRP, while for the final phases the procedure continues in an anterograde manner with incision of the fibers of the detrusor muscle at the insertion of the ventral surface of the base of the prostate. At this level, the inner circular muscle of the bladder neck forms a sphincteric ring of smooth muscle that covers the longitudinally oriented smooth muscle component of the urethral musculature that extends distally to the verumontanum. These two proximal structures represent the internal sphincter that envelops and locks the proximal urethra. A blunt dissection is continued until the ring shaped vesical sphincter is separated from the prostate and the longitudinally oriented smooth muscle component of the urethral musculature is identified. The base of the prostate is then gently separated from the urethra and from the bladder until the maximal length of the urethral musculature is isolated and preserved. Results: After 30 initial set-up procedures, 40 consecutive patients with organ confined prostate cancer were submitted to radical retropubic prostatectomy with the preservation of muscular internal sphincter and the proximal urethra and compared to 40 patients submitted to standard procedure who served as control group. The group of patients submitted to our technical modification had a faster recovery of early continence than control group at 3 and 7 days. Conclusions: The described technique is a feasible and safe method for preservation of the internal urethral sphincter and allows improving the early recovery of urinary continence. The technique does not increase the rate of positive margins and the duration of the procedure.
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