Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy (RALP)

What is Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy?

Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy (RALP) is a type of surgery often used to treat men with prostate cancer.

Surgical removal of the prostate gland (and some of the tissue around it) is one of the treatment options for early-stage prostate cancer. With the prostate gland just below the urinary bladder and surrounded by important nerves for sexual function, removal requires great care to maximize the chance for a cure and maintain continence and sexual function.

This operation may be done by open surgery or by the less invasive laparoscopic surgery, which entails small incisions in the abdomen. A lighted viewing instrument called a laparoscope is inserted into one of the incisions while the surgeon uses instruments to reach and remove the prostate through the other incisions. In RALP, robotic arms translate the surgeon’s hand motions into finer and more precise action.

The da Vinci System

The da Vinci System, utilized by ZUrology, features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and special wristed instruments that bend and rotate much greater than the human wrist. Doctors are therefore able to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.

Advantages of RALP over traditional open surgery include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • More precise removal of cancerous areas
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Quicker recovery and return to normal activities
  • Lower risk of transfusions

Advantages of da Vinci technology compared to traditional laparoscopy:

  • More patients return to pre-surgery erectile function at 12-month checkup
  • Faster return of urinary continence
  • Lower risk of complications
  • Less blood loss and need for a transfusion
  • Less chance of nerve injury
  • Less chance of injuring the rectum
  • Shorter operation
  • Less risk of deep vein thrombosis (life-threatening condition where a blood clot forms deep in the body)
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less chance of hospital readmission or needing follow-up surgery

Who is a candidate for RALP?

Most men with prostate cancer are potential candidates for RALP. Patients must be able to tolerate general anesthesia for 3-4 hours, so those with serious breathing problems are not good candidates. Also, men who have very large prostates or who have had multiple abdominal surgeries may be better suited to open surgery.

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