Robotic Radical Prostatectomy

Robotic radical prostatectomy is a new advanced laparoscopic (key hole) approach that enables the surgeon to perform complex surgery through tiny incisions, with precision and ease, improving the outcome and reducing complications.

A common problem faced by the patient after surgery, with either open or laparoscopic approaches is a loss of bladder control and erectile dysfunction. Robotic radical prostatectomy overcomes the limitations of the traditional open as well as the laparoscopic approach.

The enhanced vision and superior control of the micro-instruments helps in precise removal of the prostate while limiting damage to the nerve fibres and the blood vessels near it, which are critical for the maintenance of bladder control and erectile function. Nerve sparing, however, is not possible in patients with an advanced cancer that has spread beyond the prostate. Precise removal of the cancerous tissue with a border of healthy tissue reduces the chances of recurrence of the prostate cancer. This technique provides a novel treatment approach for the management of prostate cancer with a quicker recovery and control of sexual and urinary function in most patients. It also provides additional benefits of less blood loss, less pain, shorter hospital stay, faster return to normal routine activities and a lower incidence of complications.

Talk to Prof Patel for any unanswered queries on robotic radical prostatectomy and what to expect from the surgery in individual cases.

da Vinci Prostatectomy Patient Video

About the Robot

Robotic surgery involves two machines, a control unit or the surgeon’s console and a patient unit. The surgeon sits at the control unit, away from the operating table, and controls the movement of the four robotic arms of the patient unit, present near the operating table. One of the robotic armsholds and positions a 3D high definition camera through the incision in the operated area providing images of the operation site to the surgeon at the control unit. These images are high resolution 3D images, superior to the 2D images in the laparoscopic approach. Moreover, the images can also be magnified by 10 to 12 times. The other three robotic arms are used to hold small miniature instruments, which are used for the surgery. These instruments are introduced through the tiny (7mm) incisions over the patient’s abdomen. These miniature instruments are more flexible compared to the long handled rigid instruments of the traditional laparoscopic surgery. A wide range of these instruments are available to the surgeon to perform various specialised surgical tasks.

The robotic arm cannot be programmed to do the surgery on its own. Instead, it translates the surgeon’s hand movements, at the control unit, into precise movements of the micro-instruments in the operation site, minimising tremors that may occur from unintended shaking of the surgeon’s hands.