Advantages and Disadvantages of Robotic Technology in Urology

Robot-assisted (robotic) surgery uses small instruments attached to a robot’s arm to conduct surgical procedures. A qualified, highly-skilled surgeon controls the robotic arm, using it to enhance surgical precision. In fact, contrary to popular beliefs, it’s the surgeon behind the robot and not the robot itself that performs the procedure. The robot improves surgical outcomes and boosts patient safety by enabling the surgeon to use very tiny incisions and to achieve unmatched precision.

Robotic surgery in urology

Robot-assisted surgery has become very popular in urology, particularly in the United States. In urology centers where it is used, it’s extensively applied in surgery to excise prostate cancer as it enables access to anatomical areas that are difficult to reach. Other urologists use it for kidney cancer surgeries and to some extent in bladder surgeries. Through robot-assisted procedures, urologists are able to use the surgical assistance, enhanced precision, systems networking, dexterity and image-guidance made possible with robots. Urologists are able to easily perform complex procedures that are often difficult to do using conventional laparoscopy.

Pre-operation discussion

While robotics are excellent tools that improve the outcome of surgical procedures, they are not ideal for every situation. The need and value of robot-assisted surgery varies from case to case and it’s important to discuss this with your urologist before undergoing surgery. Being clearly informed of the benefits and risks associated with robotic surgery ensures that you can make an informed decision before the procedure.

Advantages of robot-assisted surgery

Robotic surgery is typically minimally invasive. So the patient suffers less pain, slight blood loss and minimal scarring, and requires only a short recovery time. With the robotic arm eliminating the natural limits of human wrists, surgery can be performed with more delicate, precise and efficient movements. The 3D imaging and endowrist technology of robots ensure surgery is more accurate, nerve bundles are dissected more precisely, erectile function is preserved, and there is a better chance of cure than with non-robotic surgery. The surgeon also enjoys more strength, dexterity, flexibility, control and a better view of the operated area. Robotic surgery allows the surgeon to get more comfortable, perform the procedure with increased concentration and focus, and can undertake complex procedures that are tougher or impossible with other techniques.

Disadvantages of robot-assisted surgery

With robot-assisted surgery, there is not only the risk of human error when operating the robotic system, but also the potential for mechanical failure. For instance, system components such as robotic arms, camera, robotic tower, binocular lenses and instruments can fail. In other cases, the electrical current in the robotic instrument can leave the robotic arm and be misapplied to surrounding tissues, resulting in accidental burn injuries. Likewise, robot-assisted surgery can cause nerve palsies due to extreme body positioning or direct nerve compression that may occur when using robots. It also takes longer to perform robotic surgery than non-robotic surgery in surgical centers with lower robotic volume or by less experienced surgeons.

Ways of improving robot-assisted surgery

It’s important that centers applying robotics follow standardized training, improved reporting and enhanced patient education to reduce errors related to robotic surgery. Robotic surgery should be conducted by urologic surgeons trained in robotics and have extensive robotic and laparoscopic surgical experience. It also must be remembered that adding robots to the surgical equation may create room for error in an already risk-fraught and complex arena. So proper steps must be taken to guarantee safe and effective robot-assisted procedures. Robotic surgery is getting better and better as more advanced robots are developed to overcome existing shortcomings. So patients should expect better outcomes with robot-assisted surgery as advanced machines are applied.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we believe that surgical outcomes are a direct manifestation of the experience and skill of the surgeon, and less about the approach or technology used. That’s why we have assembled a team of qualified, skilled and experienced urologists to offer surgical procedures for different urological disorders. Our urologists perform hundreds of laparoscopic and robotic surgeries every year and have achieved great success rates in terms of efficacy, cure and improved quality of life. Our approach to robotic surgery guarantees that you will get the best possible surgery with remarkable outcomes. For more information, visit the “Advanced Urology Institute” site.

Robotic Technology in Urology: Da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy

Urology has always been one of the leading medical specialties in the adoption and application of the latest cutting-edge technologies. For many decades urology has been one of the areas of medicine that has often readily embraced new technologies and incorporated them into everyday practice for the benefit of patients. Urology was the first medical field to espouse and use scopes for various procedures. And then with the invention of robotic systems, urologists quickly adopted and integrated the da Vinci system in their practices, using it for prostate surgery and making the da Vinci prostatectomy one of the first mainstream
surgical procedures to be performed using robotic technology.

Influence of robotic surgical systems

The introduction of robotic systems in urology has quickly enabled urologists to overcome the limitations of open prostatectomy (traditional laparoscopy) such as limited instrument movement, difficult suturing, complex reconstruction and two-dimensional vision. Likewise, the introduction and quick assimilation of robotic technology has helped to solve the problem of surgeon fatigue in laparoscopic urology. Robotic systems have enabled urologists to perform complex reconstruction and dissection in less than 2 hours delivering excellent outcomes.

Overcoming limitations of open prostatectomy

Before the emergence of robotic surgical systems, men suffering from prostate cancer had very few treatment options. The principal surgical option available was open radical prostatectomy, a procedure that involved large incisions and serious post-operative side effects. For example, when using open prostatectomy, the removal of the entire cancerous prostate resulted in increased risk of post-operative infections, excessive blood loss, considerable pain and longer hospital stays. Open prostatectomy also may lead to loss of sexual function and bladder control due to cutting of the delicate nerve plexus around the prostate. The da Vinci robotic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that uses smaller incisions, reduces blood loss and ensures a shorter hospital stay, making things better for the patient.

Utmost precision, great outcomes

The intuitive nature of the movement of robotic instruments results in highly precise, accurate, effective and safe prostatectomy. While laparoscopic surgery’s precision is reduced by the fulcrum effect (movement of the instrument tip in the direction opposite to the surgeon’s hands), the da Vinci robotic system has no fulcrum effect, offers three-dimensional visualization, boosts degrees of freedom, eliminates tremor, reduces fatigue and provides motion scaling and ergonomic positioning. Robotic surgery is a remote controlled process in which the surgeon’s movements are precisely translated through sensitive fibers to the instrument’s tip. When applied in prostatectomy, robotic systems have been found to offer several advantages over traditional laparoscopic surgery, including minimal scarring, diminished risk of complications, clinically superior results and quicker recovery.

State-of-the-art prostatectomy at Advanced Urology Institute

Want to be treated by a highly trained and experienced team of surgeons, technicians and nurses? At Advanced Urology Institute, we have urologists who are specialists in robot-assisted surgery for prostate cancer and other urological conditions. We perform dozens of surgical procedures every month using the da Vinci robotic system. This minimally invasive, high-precision robotic technology delivers great results with complex and delicate surgeries such as prostatectomies, where the target site is surrounded and confined by the nerves regulating erectile function and urinary flow. At AUI, we use the robotic system as an exacting tool to avoid damaging these nerves, shorten recovery time and ensure quick return to normal activities.

For more information on exceptional, world-class treatment using robotic technology, visit the “Advanced Urology Institute” site.