The role of preoperative endorectal magnetic resonance imaging in the decision regarding whether to preserve or resect neurovascular bundles during radical retropubic prostatectomy

Hedvig Hricak, Liang Wang, David C. Wei, Fergus V. Coakley, Oguz Akin, Victor E. Reuter, Mithat Gonen, Michael W. Kattan, Chinyere N. Onyebuchi, Peter T. Scardino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

145 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Because the recovery of erectile function and the avoidance of positive surgical margins are important but competing outcomes, the decision to preserve or resect a neurovascular bundle (NVB) during radical prostatectomy (RP) should be based on the most accurate information concerning the location and extent of the tumor. In the current study, the authors determined the incremental value of endorectal magnetic resonance imaging (eMRI) in making this decision. METHODS. eMRI was performed in 135 patients preoperatively. For each NVB, tumor extension to the NVB and the need for NVB resection was judged by a surgeon on a scale from 1 (definite preservation) to 5 (definite resection) before and after reviewing eMRI with a radiologist. Histopathologic findings were used as the standard of reference. The value of eMRI was assessed using binormal receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis adjusted for multiple observations per patient, and a mixed effects ordinal regression model was used for risk stratification. RESULTS. Histopathologic examination determined that NVB resection was warranted in 44 of 270 NVBs (16%) because of posterolateral extracapsular extension (n = 29), positive surgical margins (n = 7), or both (n = 8). The areas under the ROC curves (AUC) were 0.741 for pre-MRI and 0.832 for post-MRI surgical planning (P < 0.01). MRI findings suggested altering the surgical plan in 39% of NVBs (106 of 270 NVBs). When the surgeon judged that the NVB resection was definitely not necessary (165 NVBs), MRI confirmed that decision in 138 NVBs (84%); the concordant decision was correct in 96% of the cases (133 of 138 NVBs). In 36 high-risk patients (≤ 75% probability of extracapsular extension), MRI findings changed the surgical plan for 28 NVBs (78%); the change was found to be appropriate in 26 cases (93%). CONCLUSIONS. MRI was found to significantly improve the surgeon's decision to preserve or resect the NVB during radical prostatectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2655-2663
Number of pages9
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2004



  • Endorectal magnetic resonance imaging (eMRI)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Prostate neoplasm
  • Prostatectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this