Robotic surgery new option for prostate cancer

September 27, 2001

DETROIT - The Vattikuti Urology Institute at Henry Ford Hospital is the first center in the country to routinely perform surgery using a robotic system for the treatment of prostate cancer.

With this robotic laparoscopic procedure, the patient's pain, blood loss and recovery time in the hospital and at home is significantly reduced. In addition, the procedure eliminates the large incision that is used in the traditional surgical method.

"It's almost like the movie 'Fantastic Voyage,'" said Mani Menon, M.D., director of the Vattikuti Urology Institute. "It's as if you are diving into the patient and you have these very tiny and precise instruments that allow you to manipulate tissue with great precision."

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, after skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year more than 198,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States and that more than 31,000 men will die from the disease, making it the second-leading cause of cancer death among men in the country.

One of the most effective therapies for treating prostate cancer is surgically removing the prostate and surrounding tissue, or radical prostatectomy. Annually, more than 50,000 men undergo this procedure. The conventional radical prostatectomy involved an open incision across the abdomen.

New technology now makes it possible to perform radical prostatectomy using minimally invasive techniques. Instead of a major incision, laparoscopic prostatectomy requires only tiny incisions in the abdomen.

"The advantages of the robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy is that the post-operative recuperation for the patient is remarkably smooth; the patient goes home within 24 hours, and barring no complications, there are no restrictions," said Dr. Menon.

The robotic procedure was developed in Paris by surgeons Bertrand Guillonneau, M.D., and Guy Vallancien, M.D., of the Institut Montsouris. Dr. Menon trained with them and established a collaborative program between Institut Montsouris and Henry Ford Hospital.

International studies of more than 800 patients show that laparoscopic surgery is as effective as standard prostatectomy for treating prostate cancer. Laparoscopy is associated with less post-operative pain, fewer complications, shorter hospital stays and a faster recovery.

In the robotic laparoscopic procedure, with the state-of-the-art daVinci™ Surgical System, the surgeon uses a three-dimensional computer vision system to manipulate robotic arms. These computer-controlled arms hold special surgical instruments that are inserted into the abdomen through tiny incisions. The robotic arms are engineered with "wrists" that can rotate a full 360 degrees, allowing the surgeon to manipulate the surgical instruments with greater precision and flexibility.

A laparoscope - a long, thin, lighted telescope - is inserted through one incision and connected to the computer monitor to give the surgeon the "inside view." As the surgeon manipulates the robotic arms and the instruments, the view through the laparoscope is magnified hundreds of times on the computer screen.

By maneuvering the robotic arms and instruments, the surgeon performs the same nerve-sparing procedure done in standard laparoscopic prostatectomy, but with greater precision. The prostate, nearby lymph nodes, seminal vesicles and adjacent tissue are removed through the small incisions, which are closed with a few stitches.

The da Vinci™ Surgical System was developed by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., of Mountain View, Calif. The Vattikuti Urology Institute is the only facility in the country where this system is routinely used for prostate cancer surgery.

The Vattikuti Urology Institute at Henry Ford Hospital was created with a $20 million donation by Raj and Padma Vattikuti and their foundation to support prostate cancer research, education and treatment advances.
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The da Vinci™ Surgical System was developed by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., of Mountain View, Calif. The Vattikuti Urology Institute is the only facility in the country where this system is routinely used for prostate cancer surgery.

The Vattikuti Urology Institute at Henry Ford Hospital was created with a $20 million donation by Raj and Padma Vattikuti and their foundation to support prostate cancer research, education and treatment advances.

Henry Ford Health System

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