Robotic prostatectomy or robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy is the complete surgical removal of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles. The procedure is performed laparoscopically using the da Vinci Surgical System. The da Vinci Surgical System provides the surgeon with better vision and better “hands” through the use of advanced optics and computer and robotic technology.
How is Robotic Prostatectomy Performed?
- While the patient is under general anesthesia, the surgeon makes six small incisions, each less than an inch wide in the abdomen.
- Seated at the da Vinci Robotic console nearby and using both the laparoscopic surgical instruments and a pencil-sized video camera, the surgeon directs the da Vinci’s robotic arms to dissect the prostate gland and adjacent tissue. To remove the prostate, and sometimes surrounding lymph nodes, the surgeon moves two of the robotic arms while a third “arm” keeps other structures out of the way.
- The video camera’s 12X magnification and 3D view enable the surgeon to identify the many delicate nerves, tiny blood vessels, and other structures surrounding the prostate gland.
- Very small movements of the surgeon’s fingers control tiny instruments for precise movements. The camera’s magnified, 3-D vision allows the surgeon to better identify tissues around the prostate and aids in the preservation of the nerves controlling erections and the sphincter muscles that help maintain urinary control.
- The prostate is removed through an incision near the belly button.
Benefits of Robotic Prostatectomy
Robotic prostatectomy, which has been shown to be as effective as conventional procedures in treating localized prostate cancer, offers these advantages and patient benefits for qualified individuals:
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less post-operative pain and pain medication
- Less anesthesia
- Less blood loss and transfusions
- No blood donation necessary from patient
- Less scarring
- Fewer postoperative complications than open surgery including fewer postoperative infections
- Faster and more complete recovery and quicker return to normal daily activities
- Whenever possible and appropriate, physicians spare the nerves next to the prostate to preserve the ability to have an erection
- Covered by almost all insurance
The Recovery Period
Most patients are able to leave the hospital the day after their surgery. Patients are often able to return to their normal personal and work activities within 2-6 weeks.