Robot-Assisted Prostate Cancer Surgery
Over the past decade, robot-assisted radical prostatectomy has emerged as an attractive option among the surgical alternatives. Robot-assisted surgery allows for small incisions because, rather than placing his own hands inside the body, the surgeon controls the arms of a surgical robot that holds very tiny instruments. The surgical field is magnified by 10 to 15 times, allowing for very precise movements.
This YouTube video, showing the technology being used to peel a grape, illustrates the precision of the surgery.
Using robotic technology, the Wake Forest Baptist team is achieving equivalent results to the standard open surgical approach with smaller incisions, less pain and less blood loss, fewer complications and shorter recovery times.
With this surgery, five or six tiny incisions are made in the abdomen for placement of a tiny camera and surgical instruments. The surgeon directs the robot’s miniaturized instruments to remove the prostate gland, while working to preserve the nearby nerves.
As with traditional prostate surgery that requires a larger incision, tissue surrounding the prostate is also removed and sent for analysis to make sure there is no cancer outside the prostate. Pelvic lymph nodes may also be removed to determine if the cancer has spread.
View a live prostate cancer surgery performed by Ashok Hemal, MD, director of the department’s minimally invasive surgery program.