Now there's "band-aid" surgery for prostate cancer. The UC Davis Department of Urology
performed eight robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomies in the first six months after introducing
the procedure last August, giving the medical center more experience with this new, minimally invasive
prostate cancer surgery than any other center in the region.
Laparoscopic prostatectomy is performed via several small incisions, each about the size of a dime. In
a robotic-assisted procedure, miniature robotic arms and a robotic laparoscope essentially a tiny telescope
are introduced through dime-sized incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon operates the tools from a nearby
Because the procedure involves smaller incisions, patients may be able to return to their normal activities
more quickly than with standard prostatectomy. However, urologic oncologists warn that, as with any surgical
procedure, this one has risks as well as benefits. The procedure is not appropriate for all prostate cancer
patients, and men who are interested in robotic surgery should discuss the pros and cons with their urologists.
Men should also choose a surgeon with extensive training in the new technology.
Of the first eight men to undergo robotic prostatectomy at UC Davis, all have seen their prostate-specific
antigen (PSA) levels drop to zero, as would be expected with traditional prostate removal surgery. PSA
levels are a marker for cancer.