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Robotic Surgery for Urologic Cancers

Robotic-Assisted Surgery for Urologic Cancers

The da Vinci® Surgical System (also known as "robotic-assisted surgery") offers Temple's urologists an unparalleled level of precision when performing urologic cancer surgeries.

The da Vinci® does not perform any surgery by itself. Rather, its tiny robotic instruments mimic the subtlest movements of the surgeon's hands as he controls a remote console. The surgeon, thus using the robot as an extension of his own body, is able to achieve unrestricted access to the urologic organs through incisions no larger than a keyhole. Internal robotic cameras provide high-resolution 3D views of the tumor site, rendering images so detailed they rival the naked eye.  

When compared to traditional open forms of urologic surgery, robotic-assisted surgery offers many potential advantages, including:
  • Less loss of blood
  • Decreased infection risk
  • Less pain after surgery
  • Smaller, less visible scars
  • Quicker recovery
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Similar rates of survival

All robotic-assisted surgeries are performed at Temple University Hospital. Consultations for robotic-assisted surgery, as well as all pre- and post-surgical appointments, can be conveniently scheduled with urologists at Temple Health Center City.

Types of Robotic Urologic Procedures

Temple's Department of Urology offers the following robotic-assisted procedures for urologic cancers:

For more information or to schedule an appointment, click here or call 215-875-2200.

Robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer

For certain types of prostate cancer, Temple's urologists may recommend the full removal of the prostate gland. This procedure, called a prostatectomy, used to require traditional open surgery. Today, with the assistance of the da Vinci(R) Surgical System, our surgeons can perform the entire procedure through six tiny incisions in the abdomen.

Robotic-assisted partial nephrectomy for kidney cancer

Today, most types of kidney cancer can be treated with a procedure called partial nephrectomy—the surgical removal of the cancerous area. The procedure leaves enough healthy kidney intact to allow for surgical reconstruction. A reconstructed kidney offers two main advantages: it decreases the risk of long-term kidney failure and acts as a reserve if the other kidney sustains damage.

A robotic-assisted partial nephrectomy allows for three advantages:
  • Removal of the kidney tumor and reconstruction of the kidney performed through keyhole-sized incisions rather than a large open flank incision
  • The rates of survival vs. recurrence are similar to both open flank partial nephrectomy and total kidney removal
  • Preservation of as much of the kidney as possible

Robotic-assisted radical nephrectomy for kidney cancer

In severe cases of kidney cancer, or in cases when a kidney no longer functions, Temple's urologists may recommend the complete surgical removal of the kidney. The entirety of the robotic-assisted procedure can be performed through keyhole-sized incisions, up to and including the removal of the kidney itself. The cancer always remains trapped under a layer of fat in the kidney and is never exposed to the body. The kidney is then removed from a smaller lower abdominal incision where patients typically have less pain than an upper abdominal or flank incision.

Robotic-assisted cystectomy and bladder reconstruction for bladder cancer

For patients with superficial bladder cancer, the standard surgical treatment is to remove the tumor from the bladder using a specialized scope through the urethra. In cases of invasive bladder cancer, when cancerous cells have spread into the deeper bladder muscle layer, the entire bladder must be removed in a procedure called a cystectomy. Once the bladder is removed, the surgeon has two options: reconstruct an entirely new bladder using part of the small intestines or use a section of the small intestines to create a channel through which urine can drain. In the second option, urine drains into a colostomy bag, essentially a synthetic external bladder worn under clothing and emptied periodically into the toilet.

In some cases, Temple surgeons can offer a robotic-assisted approach to partial bladder removal and bladder reconstruction. The increased precision and range of motion afforded by the robotic instruments is critically important in bladder surgery, as avoiding damage to the surrounding nerves will potentially preserve bladder function in men and women, as well as preserve sexual function in men.

Robotic-assisted adrenalectomy for adrenal gland cancer

Depending on the type of adrenal cancer being treated, Temple's urologists may recommend the partial or total removal of the adrenal gland. These procedures are called a partial or radical adrenalectomy, respectively. The adrenal glands are similar to the kidneys in that if one is removed, the remaining gland can continue to function for both.

Unlike traditional open surgery, robotic-assisted adrenalectomy is conducted through four or five tiny incisions in the abdomen. The robotic instruments afford our surgeons unparalleled precision as they perform the delicate removal of adrenal tissue. Surgical accuracy is of utmost importance in this crowded anatomical region, as the surgeon must avoid any injury with the nearby spleen, liver, pancreas, bowels and large blood vessels.

Robotic-assisted surgery for Jehovah's Witness patients

Referred to as "bloodless surgery," robotic urologic surgery prevents up to 90% of the blood loss that occurs during traditional open procedures. Because this much blood remains within the patient during robotic surgery, blood transfusions are not needed. For this reason, Jehovah's witnesses and other patients whose religions prohibit blood transfusions are eligible for a range of life-saving urologic robotic surgeries.  

For more information or to schedule an appointment, click here or call 215-875-2200.