In perfecting the science of medicine, advancements always face exhaustive scrutiny and opposition. Typically, these rigors focus on confirming the efficacy of a procedure or treatment to ensure it remains in the patient's best interest for healing or wellness. More recently, with heightened emphasis on government-funded healthcare, medical procedures such as robotic prostatectomy surgery for prostate cancer treatment are under fire for cost.
A study recently published in the Journal of Urology undertook a type of cost-benefit analysis of robotic surgery, specifically prostate removal surgery and kidney surgery. Researchers found robot-assisted surgeries to be safer than laparoscopic surgery and traditional, open surgery. At the same time, they reported a higher price tag for the robotic procedures and as leading robotic prostate cancer treatment expert Dr. David Samadi comments, "sadly, this is the component that gets top press."
Robotic prostatectomy surgery is a leading treatment option for men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. During the procedure, a skilled surgeon guides the fine instruments of the robot through laparoscopic-type incisions to perform the precise and delicate procedure.
Dr. Samadi is Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and has performed over 3,800 successful robotic prostatectomy procedures. During the study period in 2008, robotic surgery accounted for more than half of all prostate removal surgeries. Today, The National Cancer Institute reports that four out of five radical prostate cancer surgeries in the United States are done with the assistance of the da Vinci Surgical System robot.
"Prostate removal surgery saves the lives of men with prostate cancer," said Dr. Samadi. Prostate removal surgery has been shown to reduce the relative risk of prostate cancer specific mortality. Some prostate cancer experts advocate a watchful waiting approach to prostate cancer believed to be less aggressive or slow growing. Men who choose this path must maintain great vigilance with heightened screening regimens that could last a lifetime.
"More importantly," Dr. Samadi adds, "with robotic surgery quality of life is better preserved. Men who choose robotic prostate removal surgery, in the hands of an experienced surgeon, are able to return to their lives more quickly, cancer free, and with minimal or short-lived side effects." With Dr. Samadi's own SMART Surgery technique ("Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique"), 97 percent of his patients are cancer free after surgery. Augmenting the benefits of Samadi's SMART surgery, 96 percent of the men he operates on regain urinary continence and 85 percent regain sexual function in less than one year after the procedure.
Dr. Samadi believes this surgery comparison study actually paints a very good picture of robotic-assisted surgery. Researchers reported the following benefits of robotic surgery over laparoscopic and traditional surgery.
Robotic Prostate Surgery Wins: