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Robotic Assisted Prostate Cancer Surgery

Prostate cancer is the most common (non-skin) cancer diagnosed in American men. Almost 200,000 men will be newly diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States (after lung cancer), with over 33,000 deaths estimated in 2020. About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is more commonly diagnosed in older men, with an average age of 66 years at diagnosis. It is rare in men under 40 years old.

Some prostate cancers are slow growing, and can be safely observed (“active surveillance”), often for years. Others, unfortunately, are more aggressive, and require treatment.

Traditionally, prostate cancer surgery was performed via an “open” approach. This involved a large abdominal incision, and was often associated with significant bleeding and a slow recovery. Surgical outcomes in experienced hands are very good. This method is still utilized occasionally in select situations. The vast majority of prostate cancer surgery, however, is now performed via a robotic assisted laparoscopic approach.

The first robotic assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RALRP) was performed in 2000. It remained experimental initially, and was only performed at select medical centers. Early results were quite promising, and the technology spread rapidly across the United States (and then globally). Drs Battino and Bluestein performed the first RALRP in Wausau at Aspirus Wausau Hospital in 2007, ushering in the era of robotic surgery in Central Wisconsin. They have since performed over 1000 RALRPs, and are the most experienced robotic prostate surgeons in the region.

The RALRP involves removing the entire prostate gland, including the seminal vesicles. Pelvic lymph nodes are also often removed. The bladder is then re-attached to the urethra with dissolvable sutures, and a catheter placed in the bladder. The catheter is typically left in for 1-2 weeks.

Compared to traditional surgery, the RALRP typically has less bleeding, less pain, shorter hospitalization (usually overnight one night), and generally a quicker return to normal activities and work. It is, however, a major operation, with a small risk of serious complications. Your surgeon will discuss expectations and risks in detail before surgery.

Kidney Stones

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Prostate Cancer

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Robotic Prostate Surgery

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Incontinence

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Erectile Dysfunction

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Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)

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Robotic Kidney Surgery

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Bladder Cancer

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