The aim of this study was to assess whether the quality of the surgical act could be an important prognostic factor for patients undergoing radical prostatectomy. This study also aims to investigate whether the surgical quality can be assessed by any means. Questionnaires were collected from 23 different institutes including 232 radical prostatectomies (RPr) performed fur T1T2 prostate cancer. Blood loss, duration of surgery, margin status, postoperative prostate specific antigen (PSA) and urinary incontinence were analysed and correlated with the yearly number of RPr performed. The mean values obtained for each parameter were very different in the various centres. The outcome in terms of tumour control and incontinence could not be related to a. higher or lower number of RPr performed. Quality control of RPr is feasible on the basis of an analysis of a few parameters, such as surgical margins; postoperative PSA and incontinence, that might recognise urologists that perform better or poorer than a proposed average. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.