Surgery for prostate cancer involves removing the prostate gland (prostatectomy). Robot-assisted radical prostatectomy uses a computer-enhanced robotic system to remove the prostate gland and surrounding lymph nodes through small abdominal incisions. The robotic system allows smaller and more-precise incisions, which for some people promotes faster recovery than traditional open surgery does. Most people who are candidates for traditional open or laparoscopic prostatectomy are also candidates for robotic prostatectomy.

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During robotic prostatectomy, your surgeon sits at a remote control console a short distance from you and the operating table and precisely controls the motion of the surgical instruments using two hand-and-finger control devices. The console displays a magnified, 3-D view of the surgical area that enables the surgeon to visualize the procedure in much greater detail than in traditional laparoscopic surgery.

The surgeon can make incisions with great precision, which often leads to fast healing. The robotic approach also enables nerve-sparing techniques that may preserve both sexual potency and continence in the appropriately selected person.

Robotic prostatectomy can result in reduced pain and blood loss, reduced tissue trauma, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker recovery period than a traditional prostatectomy. You usually can return to normal activity, with minor restrictions, two to four weeks after surgery.

Aug. 15, 2011