Minimally Invasive Prostate Cancer Treatment: The da Vinci Surgical Robot
About Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer remains the most common cancer in men with over 220,000 new diagnoses each year. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. Approximately half the men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer undergo an open radical prostatectomy, a surgical procedure in which the prostate gland is removed through a large midline incision below the navel. With traditional prostate cancer surgery, patients typically remain in the hospital for three to five days after surgery and are catheterized up to two to three weeks. However, a new minimally invasive approach to prostate cancer surgery is now available and has led to a significant improvement in patient recovery.
Surgeons at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, led by Dr. Isaac Kim, MD, PhD, Director of Minimally Invasive, Laparoscopic, and Robotic Surgery, are now treating early-stage prostate cancer with the assistance of a surgical robot, reducing the risk of impotence and incontinence while eliminating an uncomfortable recovery period. The da Vinci Surgical System is a state-of-the-art surgical robot that gives surgeons more precise views of the prostate and surrounding tissue, as well as greater dexterity.
The da Vinci Robotic System uses miniature instruments to perform the procedure, allowing for very small incisions. A surgeon controls the da Vinci unit from a remote console that precisely translates his hand, wrist and finger movements to the robotic arms inside the patient while providing a three-dimensional view of those movements.
With the da Vinci robot, the surgeon makes five keyhole openings rather than a single six-inch incision made during a traditional open prostatectomy. These small openings result in less pain, less blood loss, faster catheter removal and a shorter hospital stay, with some patients returning to work as early as two weeks after the procedure. Patients who undergo this surgery generally leave the hospital within two days and their recuperation time is reduced by approximately 50% to that of open surgery.
- Smaller surgical incisions (one inch or less) with improved appearance
- Less intraoperative blood loss and need for blood transfusion
- Reduced postoperative pain and discomfort
- Shorter hospital stay (two days)
- Shorter catheter duration (seven to 10 days)
- Faster overall recovery and return to work
- Earlier restoration of urinary continence and erectile function
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is one of only a handful of medical centers in New Jersey using the da Vinci Robotic System to treat prostate cancer. Over the past three years, our surgeons have performed over 300 surgeries using this technique. In addition, Robert Wood Johnson is recognized as a training center for residents and local surgeons.