A procedure known as Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy is becoming a viable and widely available option for the treatment of prostate cancer. Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (LRP) is a minimally invasive keyhole surgery for removing both the prostate gland and the seminal vesicles in order to treat men who are suffering from this type of cancer.
The difference between LRP and traditional prostate cancer surgery is the location and size of the incisions. With earlier radical prostatectomies, a surgeon would make a single incision that would extend from the pubic bone to the navel. In contrast, LRP requires five much smaller incisions through which small tubes are inserted. New technology has made it possible for doctors to insert specialized miniature robotic instruments and telescopic cameras inside the small tubes in order to perform the surgery. Images from the miniature cameras are displayed on a magnified video screen while the surgeon maneuvers the robotic arms in order to make the necessary changes. Performing surgery this way allows the surgeon to see a magnified image for a more precise procedure than is possible with the naked eye. This type of minimally invasive robotic surgery is also known as da Vinci surgery.
If a patient is a good candidate for LRP surgery, the doctor will operate while the patient is under general anesthesia, meaning the patient will be asleep. Generally, the operation takes two to three hours and the surgeon will suggest a hospital recovery time of one day to make sure the patient is responding well to the surgery. This is different from a traditional prostatectomy which requires that a patient remain in the hospital under close supervision for at least five days.
After the patient is released from the hospital, he must maintain a urethral catheter to allow for urination with less risk of infection. This catheter will remain in place for a period of one week or until the patient returns to the doctor’s office to determine if the area between the bladder and the urethra has healed. If the patient is able to pass urine without the catheter, he can go home and return for scheduled follow up visits.
In addition to making LRP surgery less invasive, there are other advantages to using this advanced medical technology for the treatment of prostate cancer. Most surgeons will cite the advantages of improved visualization, reduced post-operative pain, a much shorter hospital stay, reduced blood loss during surgery, and a patient’s quicker return to a normal routine. It also virtually eliminates the need for a blood transfusion. Most men who have had this surgery say it results in better urinary control and sexual performance.
To learn more about LRP, call today for an appointment with one of our urologists.