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William J. Ellis and Paul H. Lange

Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is now one of the most common ways to treat prostate cancer. Although it is undoubtedly an outstanding procedure, in many contexts the advantages of the laparoscopic approach are overstated. The authors believe that open radical prostatectomy will continue to have an important role. For example, an extensive lymphadenectomy is more easily accomplished with the open technique and may be important in staging and possibly curing patients at high risk for prostate cancer. Also, tactile sensation is a valuable asset in assessing the extent of local tumor, and this cannot yet be replicated with a robotic approach. Furthermore, obese patients, those with a history of extensive prior surgical procedures, and men with extremely large prostates may experience advantages with the open technique. Finally, the open approach has a significant advantage in terms of hospital costs.