Prostate cancer affects hundreds of thousands of American men every year and many must undergo what is known as a radical prostatectomy in order to completely remove the cancerous cells. This surgical procedure is an operation to remove the prostate gland and surrounding tissue and usually includes the seminal vesicles and adjacent lymph nodes.

A radical prostatectomy has been shown to cure cancer in men whose disease is limited to the prostate. Males younger than age seventy-five with a limited scope prostate cancer with a life-expectancy in excess of ten years tend to benefit most from this type of surgery.

Before performing any procedure, physicians will undertake a comprehensive diagnostic to discover the exact nature and aggressiveness of the disease. These tools of diagnosis generally involve a physical examination and can include CT scans, bone scans, MRI scans, and ultrasounds. If the prostate cancer appears to be stagnant, a surgical urologist may explore other options including radiation therapy and hormone therapy.

As a matter of course, the prostate gland is located under the bladder at front of the rectum and surgeons can choose from different approaches to access the prostate during a radical prostatectomy. One is a traditional approach known as open prostatectomy and another, a more recent approach is a minimally invasive technique that utilizes laparoscopic prostatectomy and robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy.

Because of recent innovations in surgical technology, urologists are more and more opting for a minimally invasive option for prostate surgeries that include robotically assisted systems such as Intuitive Medical’s da Vinci ® system. A lot of patients may have concerns about a doctor using an articulated appendage; but it is important to understand that robotic assisted procedures do not place a robot at the controls; the surgical urologist is always in control of every aspect of the surgery.

Some other patient concerns for prostate cancer involve an increase in urinary continence and a marked decrease in normal sexual function following the treatment. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that patients who undergo a robotic assisted radical prostatectomy may experience a quicker return from recovery and lower incidences of urinary incontinence and surgical pain. Several studies have also shown that, particularly male patients have experienced a high degree of recovery of normal sexual function within a year of recovering from a robotic procedure.