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Robotic Prostate Cancer Surgery Recovery Time

Psa Testing For Detection Of Prostate Cancer

Tom Had a Quick Recovery after Robotic Prostate Surgery at NWH

The introduction of prostate-specific antigen testing into clinical practice has greatly increased the detection of localized prostate cancer and, by doing so, has decreased the diagnosis of regional and metastatic disease. PSA testing has had such a profound clinical effect that questions have arisen regarding the significance of the cancers that are being detected.

Stage, grade, tumor volume, and PSA testing are used to determine whether a prostate cancer is clinically significant or insignificant. However, there is no generally accepted precise definition for this distinction.

The goal of early detection of prostate cancer is to identify clinically significant cancers at a time when treatment is most likely to be effective. The risk of death from prostate cancer is significant in those with moderate- to high-grade tumors. This is especially true in younger men. Long-term survival is compromised when the cancer has spread beyond the confines of the prostate, into the regional lymph nodes, and to distant sites.

Several studies have shown that with a PSA cutoff of 4.0 ng/mL, clinically insignificant cancers are detected in fewer than 20% of men, but nearly 50% of all the cancers detected because of an elevated PSA level are localized, and these patients are candidates for potentially curative therapy. Only a small proportion of prostate cancers detected by PSA testing and treated with radical prostatectomy are low-volume and low-grade tumors.

Risks Of Radical Prostatectomy

Radical prostatectomy has a low risk of serious complications. Death or serious disability caused by radical prostatectomy is extremely rare.

Still, complications from unintended nerve damage can happen after radical prostatectomy. They include:

Urinary incontinence. This means trouble controlling your urine, leaking, or dribbling. If you have incontinence, talk to your doctor about treatments that can help.

Erectile dysfunction . Problems with erections are common after prostatectomy. Still, most men are able to have sex after prostatectomy while using medicines for ED , an external pump, or injectable medications. The younger you are, the higher the chance that youâll be able to get erections after surgery.

Most doctors think you can help yourself regain your ability to get erections if you try to get one as soon as possible once your body has had time to heal â often several weeks after your surgery. This is called âpenile rehabilitation.â Talk to your doctor before you try it.

Much of the skill involved in radical prostatectomy centers on sparing these nerves during the operation. A man undergoing radical prostatectomy by a surgeon at an advanced prostate cancer center has a better chance of keeping their sexual and urinary function.

Other complications of radical prostatectomy include:

  • Bleeding after the operation
  • Narrowing of the urethra, blocking urine flow

Robotic Surgery Shortens Recovery Time For Patients

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Since 2011, thousands of Mayo Clinic Health System patients who have undergone robotic hysterectomies or prostate procedures have experienced a much shorter healing time due to the technology.

Now, as robotic procedures have moved into general surgery, more patients are experiencing the benefits of robotic surgery for hernia procedures. Moving forward, the technology also will be adapted for bariatric and colon procedures.

The technology provides another option to patients for minimally invasive procedures, says Tara Krosch, M.D., general and trauma surgeon at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato. We are the first general surgery group in the health system to offer robotic surgery, and we are pleased to see the technology become available to more patients.

John Tanke, 47, was one of the first patients to undergo robotic hernia surgery in Mankato. Tanke is an active runner who opted for the robotic procedure in hopes of a speedier recovery.

“There is that concern about losing fitness and starting back at square one, says Tanke.

Two days after his procedure, Tanke was back on the job, and within three weeks, he was running again.

“We have seen these results again and again, which is a great relief to those patients,” says Dr. Krosch.

ABOUT ROBOTIC PROCEDURES

BENEFITS OF ROBOTIC PROCEDURES

This is due to more precise suture handling, better optics and improved mesh application, among other procedural benefits, Dr. Krosch says.

TALK TO YOUR PROVIDER

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Control Of The Lateral Pedicles And The Veil Of Aphrodite

The lateral pedicles at the prostate vesical junction are controlled using Hem-o-lock clips and/or bipolar coagulation. The clips are applied close to the prostate, and the pedicle is divided between them . Once the dissection enters the plane between the prostatic fascia medially and the levator fascia laterally, electrocautery is avoided and the anterior nerve-sparing dissection proceeds using sharp cutting with scissors and blunt dissection using the grasper . This dissection proceeds distally to the puboprostatic ligaments.

Several authors have also advocated a completely cautery-free or athermal dissection of the lateral pedicles to avoid any inadvertent damage to the neurovascular bundle. This can be achieved with laparoscopic bulldog clamps and oversewing of the neurovascular bundle for hemostasis. Although results of this technique have not been validated in large series, minimizing the use of cautery or other thermal hemostatic instruments during dissection near the neurovascular bundle seems prudent.

Less Time Under Anesthesia With Open Prostatectomy

Newly Diagnosed

An open prostatectomy, however, is a much shorter surgery than the robotic procedure, which means patients spend less time under anesthesia. Length of anesthesia for an open prostatectomy is 2 to 3 hours, compared to 4 to 7 hours for a robotic prostatectomy.

In several measures, there is no demonstrated difference between open and robotic prostatectomy. The risk of blood transfusion for an open prostatectomy is less than 1 percent, and fewer than 1 percent of patients have wound complications. Post-operative pain on the morning following surgery is typically 2 on a 10-point scale. The patients length of stay in the hospital is 1½ to 2 days. Approximately 85 percent of patients regain excellent urinary control, and three-quarters retain sexual potency.

While all precautions are taken to reduce the likelihood of complications, no surgical treatment is completely without risk. Potential complications of open and robotic prostatectomies include infection, bleeding requiring blood transfusion, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction and injury to adjacent organs.

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Doctor Visits And Tests

Your doctor visits will usually include PSA blood tests, possibly with digital rectal exams if your prostate hasnt been removed. These will probably begin within a few months of finishing treatment. How often you need follow-up visits and tests might depend to some extent on the stage of your cancer and the chance of it coming back. Most doctors recommend PSA tests about every 6 months or so for the first 5 years after treatment, and at least yearly after that. Bone scans or other imaging tests might also be done, depending on your medical situation and symptoms.

Prostate cancer can recur even many years after treatment, which is why its important to keep regular doctor visits and report any new symptoms .

What Happens After Radical Prostatectomy

Patients are usually discharged within 24 hours of surgery after radical prostatectomy.

You may have a drain that gets rid of excess fluid from the surgery site. If a drain is placed at the time of surgery, it is typically removed before you leave the hospital.

A urinary catheter continues to drain your urine into a bag. You may need to leave the catheter in place at home for a few days to one week.

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Performing The Robotic Prostatectomy: A Prostate Cancer Surgery General Overview For Patients

The essence of minimally invasive prostate cancer surgery is to gain access to the involved anatomy via the smallest entry points possible. Traditional open prostatectomies involved cutting open the lower abdomen with a large incision. Predictably, large incisions in traditional surgery for prostate cancer run a higher risk of infection and require significantly more time for the patient to heal, not to mention they tend to leave a large scar. Laparoscopic techniques however, using the da Vinci Robot, bypass this large incision and gain the same access through a few small holes in the skin, each roughly the size of a dime. A small plastic tube known as a “port” is inserted in each hole to keep a channel open for laparoscopic Port Placement image tools to reach through. To allow room inside for the surgeon to work, the abdomen is inflated slightly with carbon dioxide like a balloon. In this working space, the surgeon can perform the same surgeries as if the abdomen had actually been cut open, but without the large incision.

What About Problems With Urinary Continence

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Urinary continence depends on the internal, involuntary sphincter and the voluntary striated external sphincter. The internal sphincter is removed during all forms of prostatectomy, as it is anatomically at the junction of the prostate and bladder. Performing specialized Kegel exercises after surgery to strengthen muscles enables patients to control their external sphincter and gain continence . This takes several weeks to several months. Overall, significant urinary leakage occurs in only 0.5 percent of UC Davis patients. About 15 percent of patients report mild stress incontinence.

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Prostate Surgery Recovery Timeline

Prostate surgery recovery varies from person to person depending on how their body heals naturally and how severe the condition was prior to surgery. Here are some tips to help you through your recovery.

Prostatectomy typically requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay of 1 to 4 days. Your physician will have you walk around the day of or the day after your procedure. You may also be instructed to do little exercises while you are in the bed. All prostate cancer patients will be discharged from the hospital with a urinary catheter in place. A catheter is a thin flexible tube that is usually left in your bladder for 1 to 2 weeks to help drain your urine. Your doctor will give you specific guidelines about how to care for your catheter at home. Bladder control may be difficult for a few months after the catheter is removed. Some males will need a urinary catheter for 5 to 10 days after surgery.

Refrain from driving for 1 week after your prostate surgery. Do not drive until your catheter is removed. Also, be aware that you should not drive on prescribed pain medications unless a doctor says its ok. After one week, it should be safe to resume driving and begin most daily activities.

Surgery For Prostate Cancer

Surgery is a common choice to try to cure prostate cancer if it is not thought to have spread outside the prostate gland.

The main type of surgery for prostate cancer is a radical prostatectomy. In this operation, the surgeon removes the entire prostate gland plus some of the tissue around it, including the seminal vesicles.

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Adverse Reactions To The Anesthesia

If a person has a history of swelling of the face or generalized itching, it is important to inform the anesthetist before the procedure because, although allergic reactions to anesthesia can be mild, involving only wheezing or some skin irritation, it is also possible to experience an anaphylactic response which can be life-threatening.

Somebody suffering from an allergic reaction to an anesthetic may display signs like breathing difficulties, low blood pressure, rashes, hives and swollen skin around the eyes or mouth and throat. It is possible to perform tests prior to the surgery to identify which chemicals trigger an allergic reaction and if necessary an appropriate alternative anesthetic solution can then be chosen.

Other adverse reactions, such a muscle soreness, a sore throat from the breathing tube or nausea and vomiting after the surgery are a lot more common than allergic reactions. Around 10 percent of people will experience some kind of adverse reaction to anesthetic drugs, and anesthetists are trained to recognise and treat reactions as and when they occur during or after surgery.

What Are The Benefits To A Patient

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The surgery usually includes removing the prostate, seminal vesicles and ends of the vas deferens. For intermediate and high-risk patients, the pelvic lymph nodes are also removed. Patients typically experience significantly less pain and less blood loss than those undergoing conventional open incision procedures. Patients also tend to enjoy quicker recovery times. A traditional, open radical prostatectomy requires two days hospitalization and recovery lasting about 2 months. With robotic-assisted surgery, the recovery time is as little as 2-3 weeks. Depending on age and health, most patients can also expect to have their potency return with or without the use of oral medications.

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Risks Of Prostate Surgery

The risks with any type of radical prostatectomy are much like those of any major surgery. Problems during or shortly after the operation can include:

  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • Damage to nearby organs
  • Infections at the surgery site.

Rarely, part of the intestine might be injured during surgery, which could lead to infections in the abdomen and might require more surgery to fix. Injuries to the intestines are more common with laparoscopic and robotic surgeries than with the open approach.

If lymph nodes are removed, a collection of lymph fluid can form and may need to be drained.

In extremely rare cases, a man can die because of complications of this operation. Your risk depends, in part, on your overall health, your age, and the skill of your surgical team.

Will Kegel Exercises Help With My Urinary Control

Kegel exercises are recommended and contribute to regaining urinary control. Dr. David Samadi even encourages patients to start them before surgery as a type of pre-conditioning. Kegels are a simple exercise of clenching and releasing the muscles that control your urine flow.

Kegels must be done every day to strenghten the pelvic floor muscles. Check this Mayo Clinic article on how to perform these exercises.

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Urinary Control After Robotic Prostatectomy

Following proper prostatectomy recovery guidelines, patients who experienced normal continence prior to surgery should regain function within 12-13 months.

Loss of bladder control, or urinary incontinence, is a potential side effect of prostate removal surgery. Because the prostate sits just below the bladder and encircles the urethra, the urinary tract can be damaged during a radical prostatectomy. In the hands of an experienced robotic surgeon like Dr. Samadi, preservation of the urinary sphincter and competent rebuilding of the urinary tract can eliminate the risk of long-term incontinence. Uniquely, Dr. Samadi does not sever the endopelvic fascia and cuts the bladder neck very narrowly during robotic prostatectomy.

Urinary incontinence is far more common after open prostatectomy, as is risk of infection.

How Does The Robotic

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It is similar to the conventional, minimally invasive laparoscopic prostatectomy. However, working from a special console in the operating room, the surgeon operates four precision-guided robotic arms to cut and remove the prostate. The procedure uses a small video camera, inserted through a keyhole-sized incision to provide surgeons with magnified, 3-D images of the prostate site. This expansive view allows doctors to see the nerve bundles and muscles surrounding the prostate. The robotic arms, with full 360-degree rotation capabilities, are placed through several other keyhole incisions allowing surgical instruments to move with greater precision, flexibility and range of motion than in a standard laparoscopy.

The procedure usually takes 2 to 3 hours under general anesthesia. Most patients experience only a small blood loss and blood transfusions are needed in less than one percent of patients. Prostatectomy patients typically spend one night in the hospital and are usually discharged as soon as their laboratory tests are acceptable, pain is controlled and they are able to retain liquids. Patients are discharged with special catheter, which is removed during an outpatient visit 5-7 days after the operation.

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Diet Restrictions And Pain Meds

Ya know its a little funny because some documentation on robotic prostatectomy recovery doesnt have any restrictions when it comes to your diet. When it came to my doctor there were a couple of restrictions caffeine and alcohol. Alcohol is the most important restriction as it could be known to irritate the bladder which is in the area of the surgery.

The time frame for resuming alcohol consumption from the day of surgery is 4 weeks. As of today I have not had an alcoholic drink for 24 days but plan on doing so this coming Fathers Day as my kids are coming to visit.

The only real pain that I felt post-surgery was from the incisions. It wasnt severe mind you but it was enough to warrant some pain meds for a few days afters surgery. I made it a point to stop them as soon as I could due to the fact I know they can lead to bad constipation and possible addiction. I found that a couple of Advil did the trick for me within a few days after surgery. Try your best to avoid extending the consumption of pain meds.

What Is The Difference Between Robotic And Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy

Both are minimally-invasive techniques of performing radical prostatectomy for cancer. In laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, the surgeon stands by the operating table and himself manipulates the instruments. In robotic prostatectomy the surgeon is seated at a robotic console near the patient from where he drive the robotic instruments to perform the operation. The robot faithfully and accurately reproduces the surgeons sophisticated maneuvers.

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What Can I Expect Before And After Robotic Prostatectomy

If after consulting with Dr. Engel, becoming educated on the topic of prostate cancer, potentially seeking other opinions, and being presented all options, a patient opts for robotic prostatectomy, he will then be taken extensively through what to expect. Dr. Engel currently performs robotic surgery exclusively at George Washington University Hospital, and a date and time will be scheduled for surgery there. The patient will generally be urged to see his internist for a pre-operative physical, although this can also be accomplished at the hospital itself. Tests to rule out spread of cancer such as a bone scan and CT scan, looking for spread to bones and lymph nodes, may be performed in higher risk cases. The patient will be given detailed instructions regarding a bowel preparation regimen and the patient must follow this strictly. The purpose of the bowel prep is not only to create more space in the abdomen, but also for safety in the very unlikely event that there is an inadvertent injury to the intestine or rectum during the surgery. If this occurs, a bowel prep will likely keep this from being a life threatening problem.

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