So What is Robotic Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy Exactly?

Quite a few of our customers are dealing with incontinence as a result of prostate cancer treatment, so we’re thrilled to be able to share the guest post below from Dr Charles Chabert of Laparoscopic Urology Australia. He specializes in laparoscopic surgery which may reduce post-surgical complications like incontinence. Not to cannibalize our own customer base or anything but, lifelong incontinence is something we wouldn’t wish on anyone. So here’s a little info to whet your appetite!

Robotic laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is performed on male patients with prostate cancer. Laparoscopic surgery is less invasive than open prostate surgery. The removal of the prostate gland is called a prostatectomy. Prostatectomy is the removal of all cancerous cells. Keyhole surgery is also known as laparoscopic surgery, which aims to be minimally invasive with the use of tiny surgical cameras. The cameras are placed in the body through small incisions. Laparoscopic instruments can be hand held by surgeons or a computer can control them. Advanced computer systems that are highly advanced will control robotic arms to perform the prostate surgery.

Prostate cancer or Adencarcinoma grows from the glands and is a group of cells. The cells produce and give off fluids and the cancer comes from these fluids. Cancer can also take on the form like a gland in structure. When cancer is detected in the early stages, most surgeons will perform the open prostate surgery. The problems patients face with the open prostate surgery are urinary incontinence and erectile problems. Almost 20 percent of men develop urinary problems and 70 percent of men have erectile problems that keep them from having an erection strong enough for intercourse five years after the surgery.

With the advancement of robotic laparoscopic surgery, patients will have fewer problems in these areas, because the surgery is less invasive and easier on the more susceptible areas of the body to heal.

Surgeons need to be highly skilled in order to do laparoscopic prostate surgery while holding the instruments. Some parts of the surgery are extremely difficult and delicate to perform. When performing robotic prostate surgery the robot does all the necessary cutting while the surgeon controls the robot through a computer. The robot does all the surgery but the surgeon does all the thinking and directs the robot for the operation. The surgeon directs the arm and wrist movements of the robot while seeing the images that are in three-dimensional form on the computer. This way the surgeon gets a very natural feel while directing the robot.

Robotic prostate surgery involves the insertion of six laparoscopic ports into the body. These small holes go through the body wall so the instruments can be placed safely. One of the ports is used for the insertion of a small camera for the surgeon to see what is going on with the surgery. Two more ports are used for the arms of the robot that will be doing the cutting and holding of body tissues. All three of these ports are then hooked up to the prostate surgery machine. The other three ports that were opened up are for any other laparoscopic pieces of equipment or for the surgeon to use if human hands are needed to work on the patient.

An extremely specialized computer is used that will control all the motions of the camera and the working arms of the robot, by the surgeon who sits at the console. The nurse and assistants that are right at the side of the patient on the operating table change the instruments that are used by the robot. The surgeon controls all the movements of the robot that is inside of the patient. The nurses and attendants will do all the other tasks that the robot cannot do on its own. The surgeon will control the robot using his thumb and forefinger on the controls and watching the images in three-dimension on the computer screen.

The robotic instruments allow for more movement, which gives the surgeon a better chance to do work that is more detailed during the surgery. The cameras take in depth images that are high quality three-dimensional so the surgeon can see everything clearly. The images can be enlarged up to ten times on the computer giving the surgeon precise control over all aspects of the surgery. With the magnified images, the surgeon will have precise movements with the robotic arms and nerve damage can be avoided.

Patients will have a reduced blood loss and transfusions are unusual for patients that have robotic prostate surgery. Patients will also have a shorter hospital stay and less discomfort after the surgery. Patients can return to their daily routines faster than with open radical prostatectomy surgery.

For more information on laparoscopic radical prostatectomies and other forms of prostate cancer treatments, visit


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