What is robotic prostatectomy?
Robotic prostatectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed for the treatment of prostate cancer. The surgery is performed with the use of a robotic surgical system that is designed to complete procedures with an extremely high level of precision. During the procedure, your surgeon will make tiny incisions at the site of surgery, through which small surgical instruments are inserted. Tiny surgical tools, as well as a high-definition camera, are mounted onto the machine’s robotic arms. The camera allows your surgeon to see the inside of the body in detail, while the tiny instruments are able to bend and rotate much more than the human hand, allowing for complete accuracy.
How does it work?
During the procedure, the prostate gland, the small organ that is wrapped around the urethra, is removed. Your surgeon is likely to recommend the procedure if there is cancer inside the prostate gland that hasn’t spread to the surrounding organs and tissue. In some cases, structures close to the prostate gland, such as the seminal vesicles and the vas deferens, may also need to be removed to ensure that the cancer is completely removed.
Dr Moolman removes the seminal vesicles with the prostate in all cases to ensure better cure results. If the cancer has spread outside the prostate on the MRI scan, then he will perform a wider resection margin to ensure no cancer is left behind and to improve cure results. If you are a good candidate, a bilateral nerve sparing prostatectomy will be performed to ensure return of your sexual function after the surgery.
During the procedure, your surgeon will make tiny incisions in the abdomen. With the use of a surgical system, the prostate is removed through one of these small cuts.
A catheter is inserted into the urethra to help drain urine while your body heals. Dr Moolman only leaves the catheter in place for five days after the surgery.
What are the benefits?
Because robotic prostatectomy is less invasive than traditional open surgery, there are a number of benefits to having this kind of procedure. There is generally less pain and a faster recovery period. Dr Moolman sends his patients home the day after surgery in about 70% of cases. A total of 95% of patients go home on day one or two after the surgery. Patients are encouraged to walk around from day one, and in most cases are ready to go back to work within 10-14 days after surgery. There is also less risk of infection, and less scarring. Blood loss is minimal and blood transfusions are highly unlikely.
Robotic prostatectomy is the international gold standard treatment for intermediate and high risk prostate cancer. Robotic surgery has shown excellent cure rates and improved urinary continence and improved erectile function recovery compared to open and laparoscopic surgery.