Prostate Cancer is now the 3rd commonest cancer in Asian men. Studies cite that with the ageing population and westernized diet, prostate cancer will be more evident in Asian men.
What is Prostrate Cancer?
It is a form of cancer which develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system.
The symptoms may or may not be noticeable. The prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating or erectile dysfunction.
If detected early, prostate cancer can be cured. The options for organ-confined prostate cancer are; Radiotherapy or radical surgery.
Till the 1990s laparoscopic surgery was popular. But the surgery was limited by 'Chop Stick' instrument movement and suturing was tedious, resulting in high surgeon fatigue. The first robotic prostatectomy was performed in 2000. As of 2008 about 400,000 prostatectomies have been performed worldwide.
It is being cited as the new way forward for surgeries. It has an edge over conventional laparoscopy and open surgeries in terms of the oncologic, clinical and functional outcome. The exponential growth is due to the advantages provided by the da-Vinci robotic system. Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital's 'da-Vinci' is the culmination of decades of experimentation. Now marking its 10th anniversary the da-Vinci robot is used to enhance laparoscopic surgery in the field of urology.
Robotic prostate surgery takes an average of four to five hours. However, blood loss is minimal as compared to open surgery. Clinical benefits include reduction in postoperative pain and faster recovery.
Dr Chin Chong Min, urologist specializing in cancer, incontinence and robotic surgery at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore says, "The da-Vinci is most commonly used for prostate cancer surgery. Because the prostate is surrounded by blood vessels, accuracy is crucial, especially for stitching sutures. The robot's arms move exactly like human wrists, and surgeons who previously stitched with their dominant hand can now do so with the robotic arm."
Dr Chin further adds, "Surgery provides the best cure rate for men with prostate cancer, which is now at 90 per cent, thanks to the da-Vinci. Other post operative problems such as impotency are further reduced because the da Vinci's increased magnification enables surgeons to better see and preserve nerves.
The da Vinci surgical system consists of an ergonomically designed surgeon's console, a patient-side cart with four interactive robotic arms, a high performance vision system and propriety EndoWrist instruments. Powered by state-of-the-art robotic technology, the surgeon's hand movements are scaled, filtered and seamlessly translated into precise movements of the EndoWrist Instruments. The surgeon is in direct control on the camera and can advance and rotate it at any angle.
It allows the surgeon to sit comfortably at a console to control articulate robotic arms with a 10-fold magnified, 3- dimensional vision.
The benefits of robotic surgery: