Urology journal finds robotic prostate surgery not meeting expectations

Jan 27, 2012
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It was perhaps one of the biggest hopes in the advancement of robot-assisted medical surgery, but expectations have been too high, according to a new report from the research journal Urology. We're talking about surgery for prostate removal, for those afflicted with prostate cancer. The study shows outcomes of the robotic procedure are not that different than those done by human hands.

It's a fascinating thing to think about. Every day, doctors get in the operating room and instead of sitting at the patient's side, he is at a computer console, operating the controls of robotic machinery that performs the delicate operation. Ever since the first successful surgery of its kind was performed several years ago, there were all kinds of hopes that patients would have extremely limited recovery time and a quicker return to their sex life.

Duke University Medical Center prostate surgeon Judd W. Moul, however, says that has not been the case. Moul, who led the Urology study, said patients who had the robot-assisted surgery were actually less satisfied in the long run. This, he conjectures, is because they have very high expectations. 89% of prostate cancer patients who had the robotic surgery said they expected to be out of the hospital in less than one day and to be back in perfect physical order within six months. And while Moul believes that is possible, the expertise in performing the surgery just isn't there yet.

[via Vancouver Sun]


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