Robotic Prostatectomy

   April 3, 2009   

Robotic prostatectomy Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It ranks first in the top 10 cancers that affect males. Among men diagnosed with prostate cancer, 98% survive at least 5 years, 84% survive at least 10 years, and 56% survive 15 years. In its early stages, cancer of the prostate rarely produces symptoms, which is why it is hard to detect and therefore, hard to treat.

The symptoms that develop from urinary obstruction occur late in the disease, which is typical of most cancers in their late stages. That is why men with prostate cancer commonly experience sexual dysfunction before the diagnosis is made.

Subjective signs:

  • Frequent voiding
  • Urgency with voiding
  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder

Objective signs:

  • Nocturia (night voiding)
  • Hematuria (urinating with blood)
  • Weak stream

Medical treatment is based on diagnostic tests, cancer staging of the disease, and consideration of the patient’s age, as well as other symptoms that may cause complications. Surgery is most often the recommended medical intervention for patients who have identified the cancer early and are in good health. If left untreated, prostate cancer usually metastasizes to the spine.

However, as a consumer of health treatment and care, you have a choice in the type medical intervention you prefer. There are several factors you should consider before making a decision on treatment because each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Robotic prostatectomy, also known as Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy, is an alternative prostate surgical procedure. This state-of-the-art, revolutionary, and advanced surgical procedure profoundly decreases pain, blood loss, recovery time, and the unwanted side effects produced by conventional treatments like radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, cryosurgery, and Transurethral Resection of the prostate. Side effects like inflammation of the rectum or bowel and erectile dysfunction are drastically minimized, if not totally avoided.

Advantages of robotic prostatectomy in comparison to other treatments

  • A majority of the patients who undergo robotic prostatectomy are discharged from the hospital quickly—if not the same day of the operation, then the next day.
  • Better visualization and precision control enable surgeons to perform intricate prostate operations with a minimal number of small incisions.
  • Decreased post-operative scarring, which changes the integrity of the surrounding tissues much less with the use of smaller incisions.
  • Faster recovery for male patients because the vessels and nerves responsible for bladder and sexual function are spared, unlike the damage done to nerve tissue during perineal prostatectomies.
  • The surgeon has increased visual capabilities because of the magnification produced by the machine used. This means the vessels and nerves are seen more clearly and are more defined.
  • Surgeons are better able to completely remove all of the cancer because of the increased precision offered by the robotic surgical system.
  • Patients regain continence faster than patients undergoing conventional surgery.
  • Patients also regain erectile function faster.
  • The risk of transfusion/blood loss with robotic prostatectomies is much lower in comparison to open surgery, where there’s great risk of hemorrhagic bleeding.
  • Reduced pain.
  • There are risks to every operation. Complications during surgery can include a herniation of a smooth muscle, surrounding organs causing obstruction, post-operative bleeding caused by scarring and hypervolemia, a deep venous thrombosis, or blood clots that develop in the veins of the legs and pelvis, which can lead to respiratory obstructions, brain seizure, or heart attack. Robotic prostatectomy has reduced the number and degree of surgical complications in all of these areas, thus increasing a patient’s safety and comfort.

There are several methods of treatment for prostate cancer. Discovering the pros and cons of each intervention is key. Men with prostate cancer should consult their urologist before beginning any medical treatment program.

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