Upstate News

September 23, 2005
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

University Hospital now offers robot-assisted prostatectomy

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – University Hospital of SUNY Upstate Medical University now offers robot-assisted prostatectomy (RAP) with the daVinci surgical system.

In July University Hospital became the first Syracuse area hospital to offer the minimally invasive surgery for prostate cancer that uses the latest advance in robotics and computer technology. The procedure has been shown to improve outcomes following prostate surgery, particularly early recovery and proven to be as effective as traditional surgery in removing prostate cancer.

Urologist Gabriel Haas, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Urology at University Hospital, heads the hospital’s robotic surgical team. According to Haas, robot-assisted prostatectomy offers the patient and the surgical team several advantages.

“Robot-assisted prostatectomy is less invasive for the patient and is more precise in removing prostate cancer than traditional surgery, resulting in fewer complications, less pain and blood loss, as well as shorter hospital stays and recovery time,” he said. “The da Vinci cameras give our surgical team a larger-than-life, three dimensional view of the surgical field, helping us to better maneuver around the many structures and nerves that surround the prostate. This results in an increased chance of the patient regaining erectile function and continence after surgery. The robotic arms can make precise and flexible surgical moves that a human hand is incapable of making.”

During RAP, the surgeon makes several one-quarter to one-half inch incisions in the patient’s abdomen, compared to a single five-to-six inch incision for traditional surgery. A lighted telescope (laparoscope) is then inserted through one of the incisions. Surgical instruments held by da Vinci’s robotic arms are inserted into the other incisions. The surgeon at a console controls da Vinci’s robotic arms and surgical instruments. The robotic arms offer the surgeon a full range of motion and the ability to rotate instruments more than 360 degrees through tiny incisions, extending the surgeon’s ability to repetitively perform technically precise maneuvers such as endoscopic suturing and dissection.

The surgeon then controls the robotic arms to remove the prostate, nearby lymph nodes, seminal vesicles and adjacent tissue through the small incisions and close the incisions with a few stitches.

RAP is available to prostate cancer patients whose cancer is confined to the prostate and who are in good health. Most insurance carriers cover the cost of the operation.

For more information, call University Hospital’s Health Connections at 315-464-8668.

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