Robotic surgery is a method of treating prostate cancer that allows doctors to make several small incisions in the abdomen to remove the prostate cancer with as little damage to surrounding tissue as possible. The surgeon controls robotic arms from a panel near the operating table.
The robotic procedure results in less pain and blood loss as well as quicker recovery time than in traditional methods in which a surgeon makes a single long incision to remove the prostate and surrounding tissues.
Robotic surgery is also called robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy or RALRP. According to the American Cancer Society
, it has similar results for the patient to laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, or LRP, which includes several small incisions using an instrument with a tiny video camera to let the surgeon see inside the abdomen.
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Robotic surgery has advantages over laparoscopic methods, da Vinci Surgery reported
. More patients appear to return to normal erectile function following a 12-month checkup. Erectile dysfunction is a common concern for men undergoing prostate surgery.
The da Vinci system provides a clearer vision for the surgeon to operate with precision, dexterity and control, da Vinci Surgery noted. It allows more precise removal of cancer tissue. This results in a shorter operation than with traditional laparoscopy. There is a lower risk of complications. Patients also find a quicker return of urinary continence.
The precision of robotic surgery helps to avoid damaging or removing healthy prostate tissue and clearing away the prostate cancer, according to Dr. David B. Samadi, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital
in New York. Other laparoscopic methods allow a lower resolution image through the small video camera, causing a limited field of vision for the surgeon, Samadi explained.
With better vision through robotic surgery, the surgeon has an easier time removing malignant tissue with limited interference and harm to surrounding tissue. The potential for scarring is lessened and patients have a shorter recovery period.
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The risk of infection at the incision site is reduced through the da Vinci system. The size of the incision is smaller than with traditional methods. Fewer and smaller incisions with robotic surgery lead to little or no visible scarring. Scar tissue build-up may affect the full function of the prostate.
The success of robotic surgery may depend on the experience of the surgeon, according to the Urology Care Foundation
, which noted that the more surgeries a doctor has done, the better the chance he or she will have in performing the surgery with a reduced risk of complications.
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