Laparoscopic & Robotic Surgery Faqs

What is laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery, or minimally invasive surgery, is a modern surgical technique in which short, narrow tubes (trochars) are inserted into the abdomen through small (less than one centimeter) incisions. Long, narrow instruments are inserted through the trochars. The surgeon uses these instruments to manipulate, cut, and sew tissue. The use of a laparoscope, a telescopic rod connected to a camera, illuminates the area that is being operated on and creates a viewing space for the surgeon.

What is robotic-assited surgery?

Robotic-assisted surgery is the use of robots in performing a surgery. There are many advantages to robotic-assisted surgeries which are described below.

What is the da Vinci robot?

The da Vinci robot is commonly used to perform prostatectomies, or removal of the prostate gland, in the case of prostate cancer. It is perhaps the most famous robotic surgery apparatus in the world, as it was the first robotic system allowed in operating rooms in the year 2000 for laparoscopic procedures. It falls under the category of telesurgical devices, meaning a human directs the motions of the robot. The technology allows the surgeon to get closer to the surgical site than human vision will allow. The da Vinci system contains three parts: a surgeon’s console, a patient-side robotic cart with four arms manipulated by the surgeon; one to control the camera, and three to manipulate the instruments, and a high-definition 3D vision system.

What is a robotic prostatectomy?

A robotic prostatectomy is a surgical procedure, aided by a robotic system, to completely remove the prostate gland when cancer is present. The da Vinci robotic system is the most famous and widely used system today to assist the surgeon in performing a robotic prostatectomy.

What are the benefits of laparoscopic robotic surgery, as opposed to the more tradition open-surgery method?

There are several benefits to undergoing a robotic surgery, which is performed laparoscopically:

  • Because of the minimally invasive incisions into the abdomen, there is less tissue damage and scarring.
  • Da Vinci robotic surgeries typically result in less post-operative pain and discomfort for the patient.
  • Quicker recovery time for the patient: Da Vinci robotic surgeries require shorter post-operative hospital recovery time as well as a faster return to a normal activity level.
  • Enhanced precision: Robotic assistants decrease the fatigue that doctors experience during long surgeries that last several hours. Even the steadiest of human hands cannot match those of a surgical robot, especially after a long period of time.

Am I a candidate for robotic surgery?

Most men who have been diagnosed with localized cancer are candidates for obtaining robotic surgery. Call Dr. Scherr’s office today to learn more about the procedure, or schedule an appointment  with Dr. Scherr.

What are the possible risks and complications of prostatectomy?

The prostatectomy have major risks since it is a surgical procedure. Patients run the risk of infection at the catheter’s exit and at the incision site. Other possible risks are excessive bleeding, blood clots, impotence, incontinence, hernia at the site of incision, and sterility.

Will general anaesthesia be required with robotic prostatectomy?

Robotic prostatectomy is a major surgery that requires general aneasthesia to keep you sedated and prevent pain during the operation.

Will a catheter be inserted in my urethra during robotic prostatectomy? 

Yes. Just like any type of prostatectomy, robotic prostatectomy, a catheter is left in the urethra and is connected to a drainage bag. This is used to align the suture line for the bladder and urethra connection, and drain the bladder.

When will the catheter be removed?

Catheters are routinely removed in five to seven days after the operation.

Can I take a bath after robotic prostatectomy?

Patients may bathe within 24 hours of robotic prostatectomy.

Am I allowed to travel after robotic prostatectomy?

Patients may leave by car or plane in two days after the operation.

After the robotic prostatectomy, when can I go back to the gym or resume working out?

It is expected for patients to return to normal activities within 4 weeks, but patients should avoid vigorous exercises such as lifting and straining until six weeks after the surgery.

How long will robotic prostatectomy take?

Typically, the operation takes about 2 to 3 hours.

Will I need to have blood transfusion with robotic prostatectomy?

No. With robotic prostatectomy, the estimated blood loss is 300mL which is less than 3% of the requirement to have blood transfusion.

How long will I stay in the hospital?

Generally, patients spend one night at the hospital. They are expected to be discharged the next day if the pain is controlled with oral medications, are able to tolerate oral liquids and have acceptable laboratory results.

What are the extra measures that should be done after discharge? 

You should take medications as directed by your doctor, these may include antibiotics, pain medication and stool softeners, however, aspirin and aspirin-containing products should be avoided. It is advised to drink plenty of liquids and avoid vigorous exercises for six weeks. The incision should also be washed gently with mild soap and water. Also, to avoid deep vein thrombosis, keep your legs elevated when resting in bed. And, you should avoid food and drinks such as alcohol, caffeinated drinks and spicy foods because these may irritate your gastrointestinal and urinary tract.

Will I have urinary incontinence after prostatectomy?

Prostatectomy causes temporary urinary incontinence or an involuntary leakage of urine, but typically, when the catheter is removed, bladder control also improves. Normal continence or the normal control of urination is regained within 6 to 8 months.