Background: The benefit of pelvic lymphadenectomy in patients with cancer of the urinary bladder remains controversial. Though the inclusion of lymph node dissection in conjunction with radical cystectomy for patients with clinically negative nodes is well accepted, however, the extent of the nodal dissection remains contentious, particularly in patients with gross disease and T1G3 cancer. The extent of the primary bladder tumor, number of lymph nodes removed and the lymph node tumor burden are important prognostic variables in patients undergoing cystectomy. We analyzed the impact of the extent of lymphadenectomy during radical cystectomy on survival in the contemporary literature. Methods: A Pubmed search was carried out for the literature published over the last 15 years using bladder cancer, radical cystectomy, survival, lymphadenectomy and complications as the key words. We have discussed the extent of lymphadenectomy on survival and its anatomical basis to determine the optimal number of lymph nodes to be removed and the concept of node density. Results: Evidence from contemporary literature indicate significantly increased survival rates after cystectomy in patients with bladder cancer diagnosed with stages III or IV disease who have had relatively more lymph nodes examined, suggesting that even some patients with higher stage disease may benefit from extended pelvic lymphadenectomy at the time of cystectomy. Studies also indicate that more extensive lymphadenectomy significantly improved the prognosis of patients with bladder cancer, not only by providing prognostic information but perhaps it is also due to its inherent therapeutic value. Conclusion: Extended lymph node dissection improves local control and survival. However, in the absence of controlled randomized trial this remains a dubitable issue.