Robotic Prostatectomy – The Gold Standard

In my view, robotic surgery is superior to an open radical prostatectomy. For one thing, you get a much better view of the pelvis with a robotic prostatectomy and there is less bleeding. There is also less damage to surrounding tissues and a quicker recovery time. I advise men that it is important to ask the surgeon how many procedures they have carried out and what they personal results are. A centre should be doing 70 – 100 a year. This form of surgery is suitable for men who have locally advanced prostate cancer with a PSA score under 15. It is suitable for men whose cancer has not spread beyond the gland and are relatively fit and healthy.

In 1997 I underwent open radical prostatectomy to remove my highly malignant cancer – so have personal experience of this procedure. When I had my surgery, the nerve-sparing robotic radical which can help preserve a man’s potency, as well as remove his cancer wasn’t available.

A radical prostatectomy usually completely removes the cancer so a complete cure is possible. The robot gives the surgeon a much clearer 3-D close-up view of the nerves, blood vessels and muscles in the cramped, overcrowded and potentially blood soaked pelvis. As the surgeon has a clear view of the web of nerves over the bladder neck that supplies the penis and blood vessels, he can spare them. The patient doesn’t bleed and there is a much better chance that the patient’s potency will be preserved. As well as reduced blood loss, the pelvic floor is also less likely to be weakend. It claims to leave just over 50 per cent of men capable of potency, even if helped by Levitra, Cialis or Viagra.

Prostate cancer is sadly still the biggest killer of men in this country. The fact that I am still alive and campaigning to raise awareness of the PSA test 18 years after my own surgery is living proof of the success of the PSA and radical prostatectomy. Robotic prostatectomy should be the gold standard for men with locally advanced prostate cancer.

Dr Thomas Stuttaford

Dr Thomas Stuttaford is vice president of The Prostate Cancer Charity and patron of the Prostate Cancer Support Federation. Born in Norfolk in 1931 and educated at Oxford. After National Service in The 10th Hussars, Dr Stuttaford qualified as a doctor. He has combined careers in medicine, politics and journalism, having his first piece accepted in the national press at the age of 19. After 20 years as a freelance journalist, he became the medical correspondent and columnist at The Times for 27 years. He is The Oldie’s health columnist and writes their monthly health letters page.
Dr Thomas Stuttaford

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