Benefits of Robotic Surgery for Prostate Removal

By Nilesh Patil, MD

Robotic surgery has quickly become the most common method of prostate removal (i.e., prostatectomy) because of the many benefits it offers, from faster recovery to fewer side effects.

What is robotic prostate surgery, and how does it work?

As much as the term “robotic surgery” is batted around today, many people aren’t quite sure what it is and how it works. Robotic surgery allows a surgeon to conduct procedures through very small incisions. The robot consists of three mechanical arms holding tiny surgical instruments and a 3D camera to guide the surgeon. The surgeon sits in an adjoining room and operates the robot via a console. Every move the surgeon makes is simulated by the robot. During a prostatectomy, the robot performs precise micro-movements to remove a prostate containing cancer cells.

What are the benefits of robotic prostate surgery?

  • The robot can perform every movement the surgeon can. Robotic surgery enables greater flexibility than conventional surgical procedures, like laparoscopy. The arms of the robot, and its tools, can bend, angle and maneuver just like the surgeon’s hand, for increased precision.
  • Some movements are performed even better by the robot. The tiny instruments of the robot are able to maneuver into small, narrow parts of the body that are difficult for the hands of a surgeon to reach. The robot can perform small movements to help save nerve endings and structures important to urinary and erectile function.
  • 10x magnification enables the surgeon to perform precise movements. When a surgeon is performing robotic surgery, he or she can see parts of the body in greater magnification. This allows the surgeon to preserves essential structures, like the nerves, blood vessels and muscles in the case of prostate removal. It also aids in minimizing blood loss.
  • The robot provides a steady hand. Although you won’t find a steadier hand than a surgeon’s, every human hand experiences small tremors. The robot takes away those tremors, ensuring the smoothest, steadiest surgical movements possible.

What are some of the latest advances in robotic prostate surgery?

UC Health is the first in the region to offer patients who qualify the option of a catheter-less robotic prostate surgery.

Men have two valves that help with urinary function and control. One of these is in the prostate. When it is removed during prostate surgery, men often have temporary leakage until the remaining valve becomes strong enough to do the work of two.  After a standard robotic prostatectomy, men have a catheter for seven to eight days, until urinary control is regained. The catheter-less prostatectomy helps preserve the remaining urinary structures and eliminates the pain and discomfort of wearing a catheter after surgery.

For more information about robotic prostatectomy or our groundbreaking catheter-less approach, please call UC Health at 513-475-8787 to schedule an appointment with a urologist.

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