Robotic Prostatectomy: A New Frontier

   April 9, 2009   

Health News | Spring/Summer 2006

Today, men diagnosed with prostate cancer no longer have to face major surgery involving large incisions and post-operative side effects such as loss of bladder control and sexual function. Robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy-revolutionary and advanced prostate cancer treatment-has profoundly changed the options for prostate cancer patients.

“The robot gives you greater magnification and a better range of motion, allows you to get into spaces that normally would be difficult with open surgery and, since you have a bloodless field, the surgeon can see the nerves that are responsible for sexual function really well,” says David B. Samadi, M.D., Director of Robotic Surgery, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Urology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “With robotic prostatectomy, my patients are spending less than 24 hours in the hospital. They lose less blood, have less pain, and avoid the familiar unwanted side effects of other treatments.”

Robotic Prostatectomy: Benefits at a Glance

Patients who undergo robotic prostatectomy as compared to open surgery will find many benefits, including:

  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Less pain
  • Decreased risk of infection
  • Reduced blood loss and transfusions
  • Less scaring
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to normal activities

However, Dr. Samadi points out, the success of a robotic program lies not only in the new technology, but also in the skill of the surgeon in performing open surgery, as well as in his or her training in laparoscopic procedures. It is this unique combination that leads to good outcomes.

The minimally invasive procedure is performed through a few small “keyhole” entrances. The surgeon controls the robotic device consisting of high-resolution cameras and micro-surgical instruments. Using these finely controlled robotic instruments, the surgeon can manipulate tissue with greater precision and remove the prostate gland without harming surrounding tissue, as well as protect delicate prostate nerves controlling bladder and sexual function.

Dr. Samadi is now expanding robotic surgery to the treatment of bladder cancer. “Following chemotherapy for bladder cancer, we have been able to remove the whole bladder and the prostate using the robot. This is an exciting time and we’re expanding the horizon to treat other types of cancer.”

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