Robotic surgery in urology – precise, quick and
minimally invasive

Robotic surgery and specifically robotic prostatectomy is a sophisticated type of laparoscopic surgery. Operating through small incisions, the surgeon performs a robotic prostatectomy using a robotic system.

Dr Wessels uses the highly advanced da Vinci surgical robot.

Applying his practised precision and specialised training, Dr Wessels sits at a control panel in the operating room, from where he manipulates the da Vinci robot’s arms and hands to operate through a number of small incisions in the patient’s abdomen.

The robotic hands “hold” tiny surgical instruments, with which Dr Wessels performs the delicate and complex procedure. 10x magnification and high-definition 3D vision enable Dr Wessels and his assistants to see precisely, every painstaking step he is taking.

Conventional vs robotic prostatectomy

In conventional surgery (open prostatectomy), a patient needs to be cut from belly button to pubic bone for the surgeon to reach the prostate. The incision is usually about 13 cm long.

In contrast to this, a laparoscopic (or “keyhole”) prostatectomy is minimally invasive.

With the precision of the robot, the laparoscopic arms pivot over the incision site causing less traction and trauma.

During a robotic prostatectomy carried out by means of the high-tech da Vinci Surgical System, only a few incisions of 2 to 4 cm are required.

Robotic surgery using the da Vinci system is increasingly becoming the procedure of choice. More and more patients are experiencing the benefits of “going high-tech”.

The many advantages of robotic prostatectomy

Meticulous precision: The robot can “see” structures, vessels and nerves that are invisible to the naked eye. These are displayed at 10x magnification in high resolution and in 3D on a video monitor in the operating theatre, so Dr Wessels can see exactly what to instruct the robot to do.

Flexibility: To access the prostate, the robot’s wrists can contort in ways a human’s cannot, even though the skilled surgeon painstakingly controls the robot’s every precise movement from the console.

The operation is slick, clean, quick.

The patient experiences less pain. Less blood loss. Shorter recovery time. And less scarring.

Prostate cancer is common

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men over 50 years of age. It affects the prostate, a gland about the size of a walnut.

The function of the prostate gland

The prostate gland is located below the bladder, infront of the rectum and covers the first part of the urethra, the pipe through which the bladder is emptied. The function of the prostate is to make the fluid for the sperm to swim in.

Removal of the prostate

Prostate cancer generally necessitates the surgical removal or radiation of the affected gland. The operation is a high-precision procedure; great care needs to be taken to avoid damaging the muscle that keeps the urine in, which sits just below the prostate, and the nerves that are essential for erections, which sit just behind it.

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