Robotic Procedure Can Trim Recovery Time From Prostate Cancer Surgery

   April 9, 2009   


When 52-year-old Chris Collicott found out he had prostate cancer and was in need of surgery, he says a major fear factor set in. But doctors at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center have been working to try and take fear out of the equation.

After undergoing robotic-assisted prostate surgery there, Collicott felt well enough to leave the hospital just seven hours after the procedure, and was sent home cancer-free.

“I thought it was going to be very painful. To be honest, I didn’t feel anything,” says Collicott. “I had pain killers after I came out, but I stopped taking those the second day after the surgery.”

Over the past few years Collicott’s doctor, David Samadi, has performed hundreds of laparoscopic prostate removals using the da Vinci robotic control system. But Collicott’s quick recovery is a surgical first. Dr. Samadi says it demonstrates a dramatic improvement in recovery times using robotic surgery.

With the surgery, there is less blood loss and trauma due to more precise movements. And unlike traditional, open surgery where an 8 to 10-inch incision is made to remove the prostate, smaller keyhole incisions allow patients to recuperate faster.

Dr. Samadi says about 90 percent of his patients having surgery are now able to leave the hospital the following day.

“Traditionally a few years back when I was doing many open surgeries, these patients were staying in the hospital for two to three days. They had morphine injections for pain, and their catheter used to stay for two to three weeks,” says the doctor.

Not only are patients recovering quicker, but Dr. Samadi says that perhaps what’s the most encouraging news of all out of all of this is that patients who get the surgery are having a much higher chance of remaining cancer free.

Dr. Samadi says it’s in large part due to the fact that not only is the surgery more precise, but they can also see more in the robotic procedure.

“The magnification of the camera that we use is about 10 to 15 times more, so that’s really important because when you try to see whether there’s any the cancer extending outside the prostate, you can actually see it,” he says. “You don’t have to touch the prostate to know.”

While Collicott is doing well, and remains cancer free, Dr. Samadi is hopeful more patients will follow in his footsteps. However, he cautions success of surgery and quick recovery time is often impacted by how young and healthy patients are to begin with.

Kafi Drexel

Robotic Procedure Can Trim Recovery Time From Prostate Cancer Surgery
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