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Safe digital isolation of the santorini plexus during radical retropubic prostatectomy

Cristiano Cristini*, Giovanni Battista Di Pierro, Costantino Leonardo, Cosimo De Nunzio and Giorgio Franco

Author Affiliations

Department of Gynaecological-Obstetrical and Urological Sciences, ‘Sapienza’ University, Rome, Italy

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BMC Urology 2013, 13:13  doi:10.1186/1471-2490-13-13

Published: 27 February 2013



We describe a safe and easily reproducible technique to control Santorini plexus during radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) which uses simple digital dissection.


We retrospectively reviewed 56 consecutive patients who underwent RRP for clinically localised prostate cancer from November 2008 to November 2010. Santorini plexus was isolated and secured in all patients using a new technique of simple digital dissection in which the index finger is used not to only localize the catheter inside the urethra, but also to develop the right plane between Santorini plexus and urethra. This is obtained by gentle bilateral digital dissection through the lateral aspects of periprostatic fascia which are eventually breached by the fingers, developing a right plane just above the urethra. Santorini plexus is then easily ligated and divided. Indicators of outcomes included estimated blood loss, transfusion requirements, operative time, positive margins and complication rates of the technique.


The maneuver was successful in 53/56 (95%) patients. Mean (range) blood loss and overall operative time for RRP were 620 ml (100–1500) and 130 min. (80–190), respectively. Transfusion rate was 8,9% (5/56). Positive surgical margin rate was 14% (8/56). No complication related to the employed technique was recorded.


Digital dissection of Santorini plexus during RRP is simple and easily feasible. It speeds up the process of finding the right plane just above the urethra allowing good haemostasis in the surgical field and proper apical dissection.

Digital isolation; Dorsal vein complex; Radical retropubic prostatectomy; Santorini plexus