Robotic Laparoscopic Prostatectomy

Last Modified: February 12, 2006

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

My husband is 53-years-old and was diagnosed last week with T1c prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 6. Also, I would like to know your opinion of this procedure versus the open surgery. Thank you very much.

Answer

Alan J. Wein, MD, Professor and Chair of the Division of Urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:

At this point, the rates of incontinence and impotence with robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy look similar to the gold-standard retropubic procedure. However, this only holds true in the hands of experienced robotic surgeons who have done a number of cases (probably the learning curve requires about 75 procedures). The convalescence is somewhat shorter (2 to 2-1/2 wks or so), and blood loss is less. There are NO long term recurrence rates available because the technique is relatively new. The standard long-term follow-up for prostate canceris at least 10-15 yrs. The bottom line is, pick the surgeon, not the procedure.