ROBOTIC PROSTATE AND BLADDER SURGERY
The prostate sits at the neck of the bladder, and robotic prostatectomy involves removing it entirely, in order to treat prostate cancer. As the diagram below demonstrates, the challenge is to do as little damage as possible to the urethral sphincter muscle which controls urine, and the nerves to the penis responsible for erections. The benefit of robotic surgery is that the 10x magnification and 3-D view it provides allows very precise surgery, and thereby improves long term results. Long term urinary leakage is only a significant problem in 2% of men, and if nerve sparing is appropriate, then the majority of men will regain satisfactory sexual function. This is dependent on the nature of the cancer though, and an individually tailored approach is discussed to suit you and the situation.
Men stay in hospital usually just overnight, and can get back to work with in a week or two depending on how physical this is. Full recovery can take a few months though, and you'd be supported with advice, physiotherapy and medication if necessary.
The link below takes you to East Kent Hospital's leaflet on robotic prostatectomy.
Pelvic floor exercises
If you are going ahead with prostate surgery, or if you have urinary control issues for other reasons, you will be advised to start pelvic floor exercises. These can help speed your recovery afterwards. Follow the link here for guidance.
If bladder cancer is more aggressive, then removal of the bladder is one option for treatment, the other being radiotherapy. Most bladder surgery has traditionally been performed open, via a large incision into the abdomen, but in 2012 Mr Streeter introduced robotic bladder cancer surgery to Kent, and is one of the most experienced surgeons in the country for this operation. The technique involves performing the whole operation internally through very small incisions to introduce the robotic arms, greatly reducing blood loss, pain and significantly improving recovery afterwards. Using this technique, the average length of stay has fallen to just 4 days, compared to an average around the region of over 10.
This is one of the most complex operations in Urology, and has significant implications which your surgeon would discuss with you in detail. The button below will take you to East Kent Hospital's Robotic Cystectomy information leaflet.