March 2019

Robots to the Rescue: Robotic Prostatectomy

Robots help surgeons treat cancer. It may sound like a science fiction movie. But for men facing prostate cancer, it can be a real-life scene.

Healthcare provider talking with an older man

Not every man with prostate cancer needs surgery. But a radical prostatectomy—an operation to remove the prostate—might be an option for you.

A radical prostatectomy can be done in different ways. One way uses a robotic system to complete the surgery. The surgeon sits at a console several feet from the operating table and uses handles to move robotic arms. These arms hold a camera and instruments that make small cuts into the abdomen and remove the prostate.

Benefits for doctors and patients

Why would a surgeon need a robot’s help? It can make it easier for surgeons to move their instruments and to make more precise movements.

Men who have robotic prostatectomy tend to:

  • Lose less blood

  • Feel less pain

  • Recover faster

But for side effects such as a man’s sexual function and his continence—the ability to control when he goes to the bathroom—there’s no difference between robotic-assisted surgery and other approaches.

Ask your doctor about your options

Like all operations, robotic prostatectomy has risks. Any prostate surgery may cause blood clots in the legs, bleeding, and infections. Men may also have side effects such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Talk with your doctor about your treatment choices. He or she can help you decide if robotic prostatectomy is right for you.



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