da Vinci® Prostatectomy
Your prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. The prostate makes fluid that is part of male semen.
Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control in your prostate gland. Worldwide, more than 900,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, making it the second most common cancer in men behind lung cancer.1 Widespread screening, early detection and improved treatment allow more men to survive prostate cancer; if the cancer is found early when it is localized or still contained in the gland, 5-year survival approaches 100%.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can vary but may include: trouble urinating, difficulty starting or stopping your urine flow, weak or interrupted urine flow, painful or burning urination, difficulty having an erection, painful ejaculations, and/or frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back. If you are having symptoms, it is important to see your doctor.
Prostate cancer can be detected using screening tests such as a digital rectal exam (DRE), PSA (prostate specific antigen) test and biopsy. During a DRE, your doctor uses a gloved finger to feel for hard or lumpy areas on your prostate gland. PSA is a simple blood test that looks for signs of prostate cancer. If your PSA level is high or goes up compared to your last test, your doctor may order a biopsy to see if the increase is because of cancer or some other reason. During the biopsy, your doctor will use a thin needle to remove small tissue samples from your prostate. The samples will be studied under a microscope for signs of cancer.
Treatment and surgical options for prostate cancer may include radiation, cryotherapy, watchful waiting, hormone therapy or prostatectomy. Radiation and cryotherapy work by radiating, burning or freezing the prostate. With watchful waiting (also known as active surveillance), your doctor will monitor the cancer with regular tests and checkups.
Surgery to remove the cancerous prostate is known as a prostatectomy. According to the American Urological Association’s Guidelines for the Clinical Management of Prostate Cancer, “The major potential benefit of [prostatectomy] is a cancer cure in patients in whom the prostate cancer is truly localized.”
Prostate cancer surgery can be performed with open surgery or minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy). Open surgery requires doctors to make a large abdominal incision. It must be large enough for your surgeon to fit his or her hands and instruments inside your body. Open surgery allows doctors to see and touch your organs as they operate. With laparoscopy, surgeons operate through a few small incisions using longhandled instruments and a tiny camera. The camera sends images back to a video monitor in the operating room to guide doctors as they operate.
da Vinci Surgery
A Minimally Invasive Surgical Option
If your doctor recommends prostate cancer surgery, you may be a candidate for da Vinci Surgery. Using the da Vinci System, your surgeon makes a few small incisions – similar to traditional laparoscopy. The da Vinci System features a magnified 3D HD vision system and tiny instruments that rotate far greater than the human wrist.
These features enable your surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control. As a result of da Vinci technology, da Vinci Prostatectomy offers the following potential benefits over open surgery, including:
- More precise removal of cancerous tissue
- Ability to perform nerve sparring surgery which enables:
- Faster return of erectile (sexual) function
- Better chance for return of urinary continence
- Less blood loss & less need for a transfusion
- Lower risk of complications & lower risk of wound infection
- Shorter hospital stay
- Fewer days with catheter
- Faster recovery and return to normal activities
As a result of da Vinci technology, da Vinci Prostatectomy offers the following potential benefits compared to traditional laparoscopy:
- More patients return to pre-surgery erectile function (at 12 months)
- Faster return of urinary contience
- Less blood loss & need for blood transfusions
- Less chance of nerve & rectum injury
- Shorter hospital stay
Risks & Considerations Related to Prostatectomy & da Vinci Surgery:
Potential risks of any prostatectomy procedure include:
- Urinary and sexual dysfunction due to nerve damage
- Rectal or bowel injury
- Blocked artery in the lung
- Blocked bowel
- Surrounding nerve damage
In addition, there are risks related to minimally invasive surgery, including da Vinci Prostatectomy, such as hernia (bulging tissue/organ) at incision site.