One of the hardest phone calls I made in my life was when I called my father to tell him he had prostate cancer. It was in May of 2006. We were both scared and anxious about the best way to treat it. Also, 9,000 miles separating us did not help the decision making process. As a former senior urology resident in my home country, I felt I needed to research all treatment options extensively. After talking at length with many urologists (both colleagues and family friends), I found the best solution to the problem: robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy. This recent surgical technique is able to remove the prostate without the pain, liters of blood loss, morbidity, long recovery process and much of the significant sequelae (incontinence and impotence) of an open prostatectomy. Another treatment, radiation therapy left the prostate in place, but closed surgical options, and still could have significant complications. We also felt that measuring PSA post-op was important for my father in order to rule out any disease recurrence. I presented the data to my father and we talked about it for many hours. He decided to go ahead with the robotic prostatectomy. Our next challenge was to find a surgeon who is highly experienced in this relatively young technique. With the knowledge and experience of having performed one of the largest numbers of cases in the US, Dr. Samadi seemed to be the right surgeon.
I contacted Dr. Samadi with all the relevant information, and was very happy when he agreed to take care of my father. A surgery date was set, and we started the preparations needed for surgery as an international patient at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. Throughout the whole preoperative period, Dr. Samadi and the international center from Columbia were available to answer our questions and concerns. On surgery day, my father was impressed by the surgical technology of the operating room, and the speed of onset of anesthesia. After the operation, he was comfortable in the recovery room and was discharged home the next day. The bladder catheter was removed a week later. On post-op day 10, my father went to the US Tennis Open by himself and on day 12, he took a transatlantic flight home to Romania. One and two months after surgery, his PSA was 0 and the minimal continence problems are improving with Kegel exercises. We are endlessly grateful for Dr. Samadi's care. Both his competence as a surgeon and his bedside manner made all the difference.
P.S. My mother-in-law saw her husband go through a painful open prostatectomy; she was completely amazed by the tremendous speed of recovery from the robotic procedure.
A. Bartoc, Romania
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