NEW YORK, Sept. 14
When given a diagnosis of prostate cancer, the first step to undertake is how to treat it. Patients can be easily overwhelmed by the prostate cancer treatment advice offered to them by their doctors, friends or family, as well as the amount of information on prostate removal and robotic surgery they find on the Internet. “This can easily add to a patient’s stress level, especially when they are trying to decide between a traditional open or robotic prostatectomy,” said Dr. David Samadi, Chief of the Division of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery in the Department of Urology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.
There are many important differences between traditional open and robotic prostatectomies, which Dr. Samadi hopes to help clarify for patients struggling with a treatment decision. “Robotic surgery is minimally-invasive — patients suffer less pain and trauma thanks to the smaller incisions as opposed to open surgery,” said Samadi. Patients are generally very pleased with this part of the surgery as it allows them to return to work and recover faster than traditional open surgery patients. “Ideally, patients should expect to take three to four weeks off from work or strenuous activity, because of typical fatigue experienced from surgery,” explained Samadi. Open surgery patients usually need 6-8 weeks to recover physically, and usually require the use of a catheter for a longer time than robotic surgery patients.
Another important benefit of robotic surgery is the reduced blood loss during robotic surgery as compared to open surgery. “It doesn’t matter how experienced the open surgeon is, basically there is more blood loss in an open surgery, because he is using tactile feedback versus a robotic camera with enhanced magnification and visibility,” said Dr. Samadi, who has successfully performed over 3,000 successful prostatectomies in his practice.
Additionally, Dr. Samadi said the blood transfusion rate in a robotic prostatectomy is about zero percent, while open surgery’s blood transfusion rate can be anywhere from eight to forty percent. “The da Vinci robot allows the surgeon to see the operating field more clearly and enables him to remove the cancer more effectively, precisely sparing the surrounding blood vessels and delicate nerves responsible for sexual and urinary function,” said Dr. Samadi.
So how can a patient be sure they are choosing the best prostate cancer surgery option for them? “Patients need to partner with their doctors to decide on the best treatment and they need to have confidence in their surgeon, surgical team and the center of excellence they choose,” said Dr. Samadi. He continued that it’s best to opt for a surgeon and team that have a high volume of successful robotic surgeries. “The learning curve for robotics is so great, but the benefits are endless,” said Samadi, “achieving true and consistent success in robotic surgery requires a high level of surgical skill that can only be achieved with intense training and a high volume of procedures.”
What should a prostate cancer patient know before choosing a robotic surgeon? “Patients should find out the surgeon’s cancer recurrence rates as well as typical rates of urinary and sexual function recover,” said Dr. Samadi. Of course, results are not typical for all patients, counsels Samadi, but knowing the average outcome can give them a better idea of what they can expect in recovery. Patients should also ask for testimonials from the surgeon’s previous patients. “Contacting a former patient can give you a certain degree of confidence knowing that they were satisfied with their overall care,” said Samadi, “It can also ease their anxiety, getting support from someone who’s already been through the same thing.”
CONTACT: Dr. David B. Samadi, +1-855-DRSAMADI