Advanced cancer care to heal the whole person

Robotic-assisted prostatectomy

Robotic-assisted prostatectomy is a less invasive option. Using the da Vinci® Surgical System, the surgeon makes five to six keyhole incisions, measuring less than half an inch, around the lower abdomen. The robotic arms of the da Vinci® system operate within these ports, with the surgeon in full control of their actions throughout the procedure - the system cannot be programmed nor can it make decisions on its own. Additionally, there are sensors on the machine that ensure the robotic arms move only when the surgeon's eyes are viewing the console display.

  • In addition to eliminating the need for long incisions, the da Vinci® system also mimics the movement of the surgeon's wrist within the patient's body. The computer automatically removes the natural tremor of the surgeon and also improves the fine control of the manipulations. Larger movements on the console arms manipulated by the surgeon are reduced or scaled down to smaller movements by the robotic arms in the patient. This allows delicate dissection and suturing not possible with regular laparoscopic instruments and with better vision than through a regular large incision. One incision, for example, specifically is reserved for a robotic arm outfitted with a camera. Images from the camera are transmitted to a high - definition monitor at the surgeon console.
  • The less invasive aspect of the robotic - assisted prostatectomy does not compromise the surgeon's ability to remove the prostate gland completely. Rather, cancer can be controlled just as - if not more - effectively with robotic techniques as they are with open surgery. In turn, it helps preserve erectile function, continence and quality of life.

Minimally - invasive prostate cancer treatment with urological robotic cancer surgeon Dr. Lee Jackson.

Are there any additional benefits associated with this approach?

The benefits extended to the surgeon during robotic-assisted prostatectomy are directly related to many potential patient benefits, including:

  • Improved cancer control
  • Lower incidences of incontinence and erectile dysfunction
  • Less pain
  • Less risk of wound infection
  • Less blood loss
  • Less scarring
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to normal activities

The following table provides an overview of the differences in benefits for patients and surgeons between the robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy and more traditional approaches.

OPERATING TIME 2.5 to 3.5 hours 3.5 to 6 hours 2 to 3 hours
AVERAGE LENGTH OF HOSPITAL STAY 2 to 4 days 1.5 to 2.5 days 1.5 to 2.5 days
TOTAL INCISION LENGTH 8 to 10 inches 2 inches 2 inches
ESTIMATED BLOOD LOSS 375 cc 400 cc less than 100 cc
MAGNIFICATION OF VISUALIZATION Up to three times Up to six times 10 times

As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is both patient-specific and procedure-specific. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.