Surgical removal of the prostate gland, or radical prostatectomy, is one of the most common treatments for men with prostate cancer. This removal can be done with traditional open surgery, laparoscopic surgery or robotic surgery. Roswell Park uses robotics for almost 100 percent of radical prostatectomies.
In this operation, the surgeon accesses the prostate gland through an incision (between 4 – 10 inches long). Depending on the case, the incision is made either in the lower belly or in the groin between the anus and the penis. The recovery from this surgery is lengthy because of the duration of the operation, the amount of blood loss and the trauma of the procedure.
The laparoscope is a rigid tube with a light and camera on the end. This surgery involves making a few small incisions (each less than 1/2 inch in length) rather than the one large cut made during the open approach. The laparoscope is inserted through one of the incisions and long-handled surgical instruments are inserted through other incisions. While looking through the eyepiece at the end of the laparoscope, the surgeon manipulates the instruments and removes the prostate. Smaller incisions mean less trauma, lower blood loss, lower risk of infection, and reduced recovery time.
This procedure uses a state-of-the-art robot and miniature instruments controlled by the surgeon to remove the prostate and surrounding tissues. The operation is performed through six keyhole incisions, the longest of which is less than 1/2 inch in length. The robotic approach offers benefits to patients over traditional surgery, including less pain, faster recovery and quicker return of urinary control.
In 2004, Roswell Park was the first facility in the Buffalo-Niagara region to offer state-of-the-art robotic surgical technology to patients with prostate cancer. We have performed more than 1,200 robot-assisted radical prostatectomies, making our robotic surgeons some of the most experienced in the nation.
We consistently perform above the national average in preserving erectile function and urinary continence, common side effects that greatly impact quality of life. And our success rate with eliminating all cancer cells at the point of surgery (achieving clear margins) is on par with the Henry Ford Health System, which was the first to introduce the procedure in 2001 and has done four times the number of surgeries.