World Journal of Urology

, Volume 36, Issue 9, pp 1365–1372 | Cite as

Supra-pubic versus urethral catheter after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy: systematic review of current evidence

  • Riccardo Bertolo
  • Andrew Tracey
  • Prokar Dasgupta
  • Bernardo Rocco
  • Salvatore Micali
  • Giampaolo Bianchi
  • Lance Hampton
  • Ash K. Tewari
  • Francesco Porpiglia
  • Riccardo Autorino



To provide latest evidence on the use of suprapubic catheter (SPC) versus urethral catheter (UC) after robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RARP).

Materials and methods

A systematic revision of literature was performed up to September 2017 using different search engines (Pubmed, Ovid, Scopus) to identified studies comparing the use of SPC versus standard UC after RARP. Identification and selection of the studies were conducted according to the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis criteria. For continuous outcomes, the weighted mean difference (WMD) was used as a summary measure, whereas the odds ratio (OR) or risk ratio (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated for binary variables. RR was preferred in cases of a high number of events to avoid overestimation. Pooled estimates were calculated using the random-effect model to account for clinical heterogeneity. All statistical analyses were performed using Review manager 5 (Cochrane Collaboration, Oxford, UK).


Eight studies were identified and included in this systematic review, namely 3 RCTs, 4 non-randomized prospective studies, and one retrospective study. A total of 966 RARP cases were collected for the cumulative analysis. Among them, 492 patients received standard UC and 474 SPC placement after RARP. UC patients had higher baseline PSA (WMD 0.44 ng/ml; p = 0.02). Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score was found to be significantly lower in patients with SPC at postoperative day 7 (WMD 0.53; 95% CI 0.13–0.93; p = 0.009). Regarding penile pain, a significant difference in favor of the SPC group was found at postoperative day 7 assessment (WMD 1.2; 95% CI 0.82–1.6; p < 0.001). More patients in the SPC group reported “not at all” or “minimal pain” at this time point (OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.06, 0.44; p < 0.001). No significant differences were found in terms of continence recovery rate at 6–12 weeks between the groups (UC 78.7%, 88.2%; RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.84, 1.01; p = 0.09). Similarly, no differences were found in terms of catheter-related issues (p = 0.17). However, UC patients had lower likelihood of overall complications (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.21–0.89, p = 0.02).


Available evidence suggests that the use of SPC can be a viable option for postoperative urine drainage after RARP, as it can translate into decreased postoperative pain without carrying a significant higher risk of catheter-related complications. Further investigation seems to be warranted, ideally within the framework of a multicentre randomized study with standardized analysis of outcomes.


Prostate cancer Suprapubic catheter Robot-assisted radical prostatectomy Urethral catheter 


Author contributions

R. Bertolo have contributed in manuscript writing; A. Tracey have contributed in data collection or management, data analysis; P. Dasgupta, B. Rocco S. Micali, G. Bianchi, and L. Hampton have contributed in manuscript editing, A.K. Tewari have contributed in protocol/project development, manuscript editing; F. Porpiglia and R. Autorino have contributed in protocol/project development, manuscript editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riccardo Bertolo
    • 1
  • Andrew Tracey
    • 2
  • Prokar Dasgupta
    • 3
  • Bernardo Rocco
    • 4
  • Salvatore Micali
    • 4
  • Giampaolo Bianchi
    • 4
  • Lance Hampton
    • 2
  • Ash K. Tewari
    • 5
  • Francesco Porpiglia
    • 1
  • Riccardo Autorino
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of UrologyUniversity of Turin-San Luigi Gonzaga HospitalTurinItaly
  2. 2.Division of Urology, McGuire VA Medical CenterVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.King’s College LondonGuy’s HospitalLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of UrologyUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  5. 5.Department of UrologyIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA

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