Did you know that more than 85% of the prostatectomies in the United States are performed with robotic assistance?1 Or that the robot is the preferred surgical partner for hysterectomies? When we think of surgery we typically picture the double gloved hands of the surgeon working in the tissues of the body with instrument in hand. This picture is becoming increasingly rare. As of January 2015, more than 2 million patients worldwide have had robotic assisted surgery.2
A modest estimate based on the growth projection would put that number at 3 million today.
Our typical picture of surgery, with surgeon hands directly involved in the procedure, is known as the open approach and is still necessary in a variety of instances. Yet for many common surgeries the preferred approach is known as minimally invasive; more specifically either laparoscopic procedures (LP) or robotic assisted laparoscopy (RALP). So what is this Bot? Why do the surgeons want it on the team?
A robotic assisted laparoscopic procedure offers a variety of improvements over standard laparoscopic procedures. The magnified high-definition 3D images, the highly dexterous ‘hands’ of the robot and the ergonomic workstation are all beneficial to the procedure and the surgeon. Studies have shown a RALP patient can benefit from less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and a faster return to work over the open approach.1 Further, a study comparing outcomes between open prostatectomy and RALP in a large cohort of men found RALP was associated with a shorter length of stay in the hospital, less need for postoperative radiotherapy and a lower rate of complications that required a return trip to the hospital.3
Right now the only surgical robot on the market in the United States is the daVinci Surgical System. It became available 16 years ago has become mainstream down to the community hospitals. It has three major components:5
- The robot with four mobile arms: a camera arm & three instrument arms.
- The bedside cart which holds illuminates and sends images to the surgeon console.
- The surgeon console which contains a magnified, HD 3-dimensional image for the surgeon and 2 handpieces through which the surgeon manages the instruments performing the operation. Some movements of the robotic components are managed by foot pedals at this console.
“Robotic assisted surgery is yet another tool that I am happy to be able to offer to my patients here in the Tri-Cities where I strive to provide my patients with state of the art care.” Dr. Kenneth Berger, Lourdes Urology
“It is a privilege to be able to provide Urological Robotic services here in the Tri-Cities. It is a remarkable tool and has greatly benefited our patients.”
Dr. Thomas Brinton, Kadlec Clinic Urology
“The benefits that this Robotic System provides to this community is incredible. I’m very happy to be a part of a team providing this service to the Tri-Cities.” Dr. Patrick Gavin, Kadlec Clinic Urology
As with all medical procedures, there are risks associated with robotic assisted surgery. The success of the procedure is dependent on many variables such as the experience of the physician or the patients overall health. In addition, not all patients are good candidates for minimally invasive surgery. If you are discussing a surgical procedure with your physician, ask to have all your options reviewed. If you need more information on this or other cancer management issues, feel free to call one of our nurse navigators at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center.
1. Kirkpatrick, T. MD, LaGrange, C. MD. , “Robotic Surgery: Risks vs. Rewards”, PSNet, Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality. https//psnet.ahrq./case/368/robotic-surgery-risks-vs-rewards-
2. Nataloni, R. “Robotic Surgery: New and Improved or New and the Same?”, Medeuronet Magazine, July15, 2015.
3. Howard, Beth. “Is Robotic surgery Right for You?”. AARP The Magazine, Jan 2014
4. All About Robotic Surgery, http://allaboutroboticsurgery.com/surgicalrobots.html