NEW YORK, July 27, 2011
For men facing radical prostatectomy procedures, elimination of their prostate cancer is not their only concern. In fact, a large number of these men list damage to their sexual potency and urinary continence among their biggest fears. More than 240,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. Just like the patients of Dr. David Samadi’s, Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, many of these men are opting for removal of the prostate through radical prostatectomy surgery, making the need to address these post-surgery issues more critical than ever.
A newly-released study by The National Institute of Health Research weighed the benefit of one-to-one training for pelvic floor toning exercises (a.k.a. Kegels) versus standard care, as a treatment option for post-prostatectomy incontinence. Toning of the pelvic floor muscles is believed to improve urinary control. The study concluded that there is little to no evidence that this personalized physical therapy improved urinary incontinence, nor is it cost-effective.
Dr. Samadi recommends pelvic floor toning exercises for some patients who experience prolonged urinary incontinence post-prostatectomy, but this is not the norm for his patients. As an expert in robotic prostatectomy procedures, Dr. Samadi has performed over 3,500 successful surgeries and his patients have a cure rate of 97 percent. Robotic prostatectomy surgery employs the use of da Vinci System technology to allow enhanced visualization and more precise dissection during surgery. These factors, in most cases, allow Dr. Samadi to spare the nerves surrounding the prostate – nerves critical to sexual and urinary functions. Success with this technology is greatly dependent on the skill of the surgeon. Dr. Samadi reminds patients to, “choose your surgeon carefully.” As the technology becomes more widely available, so will the surgeons offering the procedure. “But,” urges Dr. Samadi, “be certain you are choosing a surgeon who has extensive experience in robotic prostate surgery. Expertise cannot be achieved in a few cases.”
“I know that sexual potency and urinary continence are about as important to men as curing their prostate cancer. Therefore,” adds Dr. Samadi, “I believe in delivering what I call the Treatment Trifecta. My patients are fighting to be cancer-free, while maintaining sexual potency and full control of their urinary function.” He continues to work with patients long after surgery to achieve “Treatment Trifecta” success. Ninety-six percent of Dr. Samadi’s patients regain urinary continence and 87 percent regain sexual function in a year or less after the surgery. When necessary, Dr. Samadi will continue to work with patients to move beyond the mild stress urinary incontinence they may experience post-surgery. According to Dr. Samadi, Kegels are often a part of this recovery and when used as a follow-up to radical prostatectomy by a highly skilled surgeon, they can be useful.
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