da Vinci Surgery
The da Vinci prostatectomy is chosen by more U.S. men than any other treatment for prostate cancer and is being selected by more and more men worldwide. It’s a minimally invasive, robotic-assisted surgical procedure that removes the cancerous prostate gland and related structures.
Why a robot?
The da Vinci® Surgical System allows a robotic arm with miniature instruments to create small incisions, guided by a trained surgeon. Without this robotic procedure, the common prostatectomy method involves an incision from the belly button to the pelvic bone.
Surgeons who use the da Vinci robot are able to see more clearly and accurately to limit scars and remove the entirety of cancerous cells.
This prostatectomy method is an inpatient procedure that leaves minimal scarring and saves numerous nerves. Prior to the da Vinci method, the most common problem post-surgery was difficulty with urination and the ability to get an erection. Salvaging the nerve connections allows men to maintain the lifestyle and comfort they are accustomed.
During your surgery, the Jackson Urologist will sit at a console near the operating table. The doctor will use instruments to guide six robotic arms, which offer more range of motion and precision than a human wrist. The urologist will guide the arms to make a small incision like a keyhole, enter into the body cavity, then use three-dimensional imaging equipment to navigate to the prostate.
There are large bundles of nerves around the prostate, and the da Vinci robot allows the urologist to carefully detach the nerves from the prostate, ensuring continence and sexual performance is still possible. After this clean separation, the prostate is removed through the small hole. The urologist will then run a catheter from the bladder to the urine channel. The catheter will be removed about a week later.
Finally, the robot arms will be removed from the abdomen and close up the incision points.
After the surgery is complete, you may be returned to your individual room and monitored until you are discharged. Post-operation time is usually a day or less, but is best determined by your Jackson Urologist.
The most common issues are incontinence and erectile dysfunction, though these side effects subside as time passes. Incontinence is typically resolved in three to six months. About three months after surgery, 50% of patients report successful intercourse and the success rises to 88% after 12 months.
You may experience pain in your shoulders and nausea, though these should subside after a couple of days. There is a possibility of bladder spasms as well as cramps, which are normal and can be relieved with medication, though they often go away on their own. It is important to maintain a healthy diet and should attempt to walk six times a day for the first two weeks post-operation.