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Understanding the Risk of a Robotic da Vinci Radical Prostatectomy

Sep 5, 2008
There is an increasing demand for a minimally invasive radical prostatectomy as a prostate cancer treatment option. Laparoscopic surgeries such as the robotic da Vinci radical prostatectomy have recently come under scrutiny because of an increased need for correcting complications stemming from the surgery. This should cause every prospective patient to ask himself if this is the right surgery for him.

The robotic surgery has been aggressively advertised and has thus has quickly become a popular prostate cancer treatment solution. The surgical procedure went from consisting of 12.2 percent of all radical prostatectomies in 2003 to 31 percent in 2005.

New Review of Minimally Invasive Radical Prostatectomy Surgery:

The robotic radical prostatectomy has been chosen by many patients because the surgery is less invasive and patients typically require less than two days stay in the hospital post surgery as opposed to four days for patients who had and open prostatectomy. Questions still remain about the outcome of robotic radical prostatectomy operations. Published in May, 2008 Dr. Jim C. Hu looked to examine the outcome of minimally invasive radical prostatectomy procedures.

Favorable Initial Review:

Initial reviews of laparoscopic surgeries look favorable. Dr. Hu's study revealed a 27 percent lower risk of complications during or shortly after the surgery. Patients receiving a robotic radical reported fewer immediate problems including bleeding, breathing and cardiac problems among others. The minimal invasive surgery also resulted in a hospital stay that was more than half as short as a typical hospital stay of an open prostatectomy patient.

On the surface this looks like a potential advancement within the radical prostatectomy community, however the study reveals some serious potential concerns after the men return home. After a longer period of time has elapsed the minimally invasive radical prostatectomy begins to look less favorable.

Increased Potential Long Term Risk:

The long term effects of a da Vinci radical prostatectomy are being put into question. According to the study, men who elected a robotic radical had a 40 percent increased risk of scarring that interfered with organ function. This is a complication that could require additional corrective surgeries to be performed.

Increased Need of Additional Hormonal Drug Therapy:

Six months after surgery open prostatectomy patients typically need additional hormonal or drug therapy about ten percent of the time. Patients who elect the minimally invasive robotic radical prostatectomy typically need the same treatment one-quarter of the time, a dramatic increase over open-surgery patients.

Radical Prostatectomy Options and Risk:

It is important for a man diagnosed with prostate cancer to consider all potential treatment options. If you are considering a prostate cancer radical prostatectomy, or another form of prostate cancer treatment, selecting the best treatment option should be based on a variety of factors including:

- The growth rate of the cancer
- Rate that the cancer is spreading
- Determination if the cancer is curable or incurable
- Age of the patient
- General health of the patient
- Benefits versus potential side effects associated with the different treatment options

When you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, the most important thing to do is to become educated about various prostate cancer surgery options. Learn about the potential outcomes and associated complications. If you are considering a robotic radical prostatectomy make sure you are considering all the facts, including the long term risk potential from this option. Finally, discuss different treatment options with your physician and work to determine a treatment that is best for you.

Questions about Prostate Cancer Surgery:

There are a variety of prostate cancer surgery information resources available online. Educate yourself about your options. Ask questions. Talk to your urologist and determine which method of treatment is going to be right for your health condition. For too many men there is only one opportunity to defeat prostate cancer.
About the Author
John Critz helps inform men about prostate cancer surgery information and prostate cancer surgery options . His company, RCOG offers a prostate cancer radical prostatectomy and has the highest documented cure rates in the world.
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