Robotic Prostatectomy: The Minimally Invasive Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a type of malignancy that occurs in the walnut-sized prostate gland of the male reproductive system.

If you have been diagnosed with this illness, your urologic oncologist may recommend one or a combination of various treatments, including radiation therapy, cryosurgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, vaccine therapy, and surgery.

The last of these, surgery, is a common treatment choice for prostate cancer that has not yet spread outside of the prostate gland. The surgical removal of the prostate is medically known as prostatectomy.

da vinci surgical system
Da Vinci surgical system; image source

A patient who is a candidate for prostatectomy can either have an open surgery or a minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive surgery, in turn, can be performed either as traditional laparoscopic surgery or as robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery. Read on to find out more about these different types of procedures.

What is the difference between an open surgery and a minimally invasive surgery?

With the open approach to prostatectomy, the surgeon creates an incision on the patient’s lower abdomen, usually from the belly button down to the pubic area.

During the operation, the surgeon may collect cell samples from nearby lymph nodes, which can then be sent to the laboratory to be analyzed. The presence of cancer cells in lymph nodes is an indication that the cancer has spread beyond the gland.

Minimally invasive surgery or laparoscopy, on the other hand, involves the creation of several small incisions through which the surgical instruments can be inserted by the surgeon.

A tool called the laparoscope—a thin, lighted tube with a camera—is used to send images of the prostate to a monitor, permitting the surgeons to view the gland and to perform the operation.

A patient can benefit from a minimally invasive surgery in that it often results in less blood loss and pain, and the required recovery period is often shorter.

Robotic prostatectomy

Laparoscopic surgery can also be performed with the aid of robotic equipment. In a robot-assisted prostatectomy, the surgeons manipulate the instruments using a modern control system, allowing for more precise movements and enhanced dexterity.

The system also augments the view of the surgery area, giving the surgeons a clearer picture of the prostate. One such prominent example of a robotic surgery equipment is the da Vinci Surgery System.

Robotic prostatectomy provides several advantages over open surgery and even traditional laparoscopy. These include the following:

Advantages over open surgery

  • Less pain and hemorrhaging because only smaller incisions are required
  • More accurate removal of malignant tissues
  • Less need for blood transfusion because there is less blood loss
  • Nerve sparing is possible, allowing for the quicker return of urinary and sexual functions
  • Shorter hospital stay and recovery period

Advantages over traditional laparoscopy

  • Faster return of urinary and sexual functions
  • Less chance of nerve and rectum injury
  • Less blood loss
  • Shorter hospital stay and recovery period

More about prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common malignancies that occur in men. In fact, it comes only second to prostate cancer as the most prevalent form of cancer among men.

Fortunately, this type of cancer has a very good prognosis. According to the American Cancer Society, the relative 5-year survival rate is almost 100%. In the United States, there are also about 2 million men who count themselves as prostate cancer survivors. It is, however, important that the cancer is detected early so that it can be promptly treated.

Prognosis is generally worse for individuals who have metastatic malignancies.

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, talk to your urologist or oncologist about your treatment options.

Ask if you are a candidate for robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery and if this procedure will benefit you more than other types of prostatectomy. Also find a hospital with a reputable urologic oncology program who can help you with your treatment plan. This will ensure that you’ll receive the highest level of care possible.


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