New Delhi: Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among men, with millions of new cases diagnosed each year. In recent years, however, a new form of treatment has emerged that is providing patients with better outcomes and faster recovery: robot-assisted prostate cancer surgery.
What are some of the treatment options for prostrate cancer?
Traditionally, radical prostatectomy has been the primary treatment for prostate cancer. This involves removing the entire prostate gland and is typically offered to men whose cancer has not yet spread. The surgery can be performed in different ways, including open surgery, which involves a large incision, and laparoscopic surgery, which uses smaller incisions. However, in the last decade, robot-assisted surgery has become the gold standard for operating on prostate cancer patients.
Can you tell us a bit about the robot assisted surgery?
Robot-assisted surgery is a minimally invasive surgical approach that involves making small incisions up to 8mm in size. The surgery is performed using robotic instruments that are inserted through the small incisions, allowing surgeons to control the instruments remotely while sitting at a console which gives a magnified three-dimensional view of the operating field inside the abdomen.
What are the benefits associated with robot assisted surgery?
The benefits of this approach are numerous. First, because of the better vision, the surgery is more precise with lesser chance of bleeding reducing the need for blood transfusions. Second, the endowrist function of robotic instruments where in the robotic instrument can be bent at various angles very near to the tip allows the surgeons to operate in deep spaces and at difficult angles in a minimal invasive way. This feature helps the surgeon to overcome the difficulties faced while doing this surgery laparoscopically. Also, since the incisions are small, patients experience lesser pain in post-operative period and recovery times are much faster with patients getting discharged from the hospital within 24-48 hours of surgery.
Who is eligible for the same?
Not all patients are advised to undergo robot-assisted prostate surgery. The surgery is typically recommended for patients whose cancer is localized to the prostate gland. For patients with cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, surgery may not be the best option. However, for patients who are eligible, robot assisted surgery can be highly effective, resulting in a cure for many patients. While there are risks involved with any surgical procedure, the risks/complications such as bleeding or infection after robot-assisted prostatectomy are generally lower than with other forms of surgery.
What are the possible side effects of robot assistive technology?
Radical Prostatectomy is associated with urinary leakage or incontinence of urine for few months after surgery. Nonetheless more than 90% of patients regain full control of urination in few months especially with the help of exercises. Robotic surgery, however, may result in faster recovery of this function.
Robot-assisted prostate cancer surgery is a significant breakthrough in cancer care, providing patients with better functional and possibly oncological outcomes. With ongoing advances in robotic technology, along with technologies such as artificial intelligence and 3D modelling, we can expect to see even more improvements in the treatment of prostate cancer in the years to come.
Dr Puneet Ahluwalia, Director and Head, UroOncology and Robotic Surgery, Medanta, Gurgaon
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