One of the most innovative treatments for prostate cancer is robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy – removal of the prostate gland. Penn is a leader in performing this minimally invasive, high-tech treatment.
Robotic prostatectomy offers similar and often better outcomes than traditional prostate cancer surgery. In addition, by using the robotic technique there is greater nerve sparing resulting in less chance of erectile dysfunction (ED) and urinary discontinence.
While these technological advantages are significant, a surgeon's skill and experience remain the most important elements for achieving good outcomes.
With robotic-assisted surgery the patient can look forward to a shorter recovery, less chance of infection and less postoperative pain.
Penn's robotic-assisted prostate program s one of the most experienced in the world. David I. Lee, MD, chief of the division of urology at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, has performed over 3,000 robotic prostatectomies.
Thomas J. Guzzo MD, MPH, completed a fellowship in urologic oncology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and performs robotic prostatectomy, robotic partial nephrectomy, and robotic radical cystectomy as well as urinary diversion for bladder cancer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
All of Penn's urologic surgeons use their expertise to train urologists from across the country and around the world.
How Does it Work?
Laparoscopic prostatectomy is the complete removal of the prostate using long, narrow instruments that are introduced through very small skin incisions. To perform the procedure, six tiny incisions are made in the patient's abdomen and the laparoscopic instruments are carefully inserted and attached to the robot.
Once setup is completed, the surgeon sits at the console where the surgeon controls the robotic instruments.
The margins obtained around the prostate are just as precise, if not more so, than with open surgery. This leads to cancer cure rates equal to open surgery. Better precision also means better nerve sparing, thereby maximizing the chances of preserving sexual and urinary function.
What to Expect After Surgery
All patients are carefully monitored in the recovery room following surgery. That evening, patients can expect to sit up in bed, drink fluids and take a short walk. Nearly all patients are able to go home the next morning.
The urinary catheter remains in for only one week (rather than two to three weeks with open surgery). Most patients return to work in two to three weeks and can resume activities such as golf and weightlifting in about three weeks.