Using robotic assistance for enhanced visualization, improved dexterity and better patient experience.

Robotic Surgery for Prostate Cancer

Darrel Denton, a 59-year-old mechanical engineer, was surprised to learn about the latest member of his surgery team for his upcoming prostatectomy (removal of the prostate). Sky Ridge's surgeons use leading-edge technology during surgery, which helps with shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times.

Several Sky Ridge urologists are trained to use the robotic surgery systems, such as urologists who use robots to perform prostate cancer surgery and for reconstruction of congenital kidney obstructions.

Controlled Precision

Surgeons are not facing a threat of being replaced. Even though the robot holds the surgical tools, the surgeon is still in command throughout the entire procedure. “The robot is not doing anything we aren’t doing,” Dr. Ali Sarram, urologist, says. “It’s just translating our movements.”

The surgeon sits at a computer console and looks through a three-dimensional video display to monitor the procedure. He or she manipulates the movements of the robot by using hand controls and foot pedals.

“The prostate is deep within the pelvis and difficult to access with traditional surgery,” Dr. James Fagelson says. “The 3-D monitor and robotic arms allow surgeons to freely access this area and control cancer with more precision.”

A Growing Medical Trend

Although robot-assisted surgery may seem a bit futuristic, it is actually rising in popularity among physicians, and its capabilities continue to expand. The first robotic prostatectomy in the United States was performed in the fall of 2000. Since then, it has become the fastest growing treatment option for prostate cancer in this country. 

Darrel's Robotic Surgery Experience at Sky Ridge

It was supposed to be a standard, yearly physical. The results, however, led to a close encounter with a robot. Darrel Denton, a 59-year-old mechanical engineer, had received a hip replacement the previous year and wasn’t expecting anymore medical surprises. Since Denton was in his 50s, his annual exam included a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test, which is used to help detect prostate cancer. His PSA levels were high, and a biopsy later proved he had cancer. “I had no symptoms,” he says. “I felt fine. It was quite a shock.”

Denton, who was the first patient at Sky Ridge to undergo surgery with one of our robotic systems for a prostatectomy, says he recognizes the growing trend. He had no reservations about letting the robot lend a helping “hand” during surgery.