Robotic Prostatectomy

The da Vinci surgery system enables your urologist to perform a minimally invasive prostatectomy — with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control. Prostatectomy -- surgery to remove the prostate gland -- is used to treat prostate cancer. It is performed most often when the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate gland. Radical prostatectomy removes the prostate as well as the surrounding tissue. There are several ways to perform a prostatectomy: open surgery through large incisions, manual laparoscopic prostatectomy, as well as da Vinci robotic-assisted prostatectomy.

Benefits of Robotic Prostatectomy

Da Vinci robotic prostatectomy offers men many potential benefits over traditional surgery including: Robotic Prostatectomy

  • Less pain
  • Fewer complications
  • Less blood loss
  • Fewer days with a catheter
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Quicker recovery and return to normal activities.

Photo courtesy Intuitive Surgical. For more information, please visit

A study recently published in the Journal of Urology found that robotic assisted and laparoscopic prostatectomy is associated with fewer deaths, complications, transfusions and shorter length of hospital stay compared to open surgery.

How does robotic prostatectomy work?

For robotic prostatectomy, the surgeon moves the robotic arm while sitting at a computer console near the operating table. The surgeon controls a tiny video camera and surgical tools that enter the body through very small incisions. 
With the da Vinci robotic prostatectomy, the surgeon is able to perform much more precise and subtle movements of the surgical instruments than traditional laparoscopic prostatectomy.   

Watch Video:  Jim Nance never dreamed he would get the news he had prostate cancer. He had no symptoms, and was lucky that it was detected during his annual physical. He underwent robotic prostatectomy to successfully remove the cancer.

What experienced surgeons are saying about robotic prostatectomy

Dr. Tina Schuster, urologist and co director of the Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery program at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital is an expert in removing the prostate using the minimally invasive da Vinci robot. She explains that because the prostate is located in such a hard-to-reach area deep inside the pelvis, 20 years ago, the surgery was very invasive. Surgeons would make a large incision from the pubic bone up to the navel, sometimes higher. The surgery would involve a lengthy hospital stay – at least three to four days. Patients were told to donate blood ahead of time for the surgery.  

But with robotic prostatectomy surgery, these problems are greatly minimized. Transfusions are rare, blood loss is minimal. Robotic prostatectomy uses small incisions, and the hospital stay is just overnight, with minimal pain medications required.  “They get back to work within a couple of weeks,” says Schuster. “There are very few complications as far as blood loss and infection are concerned.” Many men wonder if they experience any urinary incontinence after surgery. Dr. Schuster says the majority of men have regained control of their bladder between three to six months after robotic prostatectomy surgery, compared to 12 months after open surgery.

Surgeons have demonstrated (and widely published) results with da Vinci prostatectomy that offer excellent rates of cancer control while speeding the return of urinary continence and sexual function. For more information, visit

Am I a candidate for robotic prostatectomy?

Every person is different, and every case of prostate cancer is different. Prostatectomy is one of many treatment options for men facing prostate cancer. Besides surgery, other treatments include radiation, cryotherapy, hormone therapy, and physician-monitored waiting and watching.  If your treatment options include prostatectomy, your doctor can help you understand the risks and benefits and whether robotic prostatectomy is right for you.   
You should:

  • Ask about the possible risks of the surgery.
  • Talk to your doctor about other treatment options. Ask about the risks of those treatments.
  • Consider getting a second opinion from another doctor.

More information about robotic prostatectomy

To learn more about robotic prostatectomy call 888-DMC-2500 or click on the physician links below.

Fadi Eliya, MD

Richard Sarle, MD
Dr. Tina Schuster

Is prostate the same as prostrate?

The word prostate is often misspelled and mispronounced with an extra “r.” Saying prostrate, prostrate gland, or prostratectomy is incorrect. Confusion may stem from the fact that “prostrate” is a word meaning to lie flat In submission. The correct word for the gland – prostate -- comes from the Greek meaning “one who stands before,” according to Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon.



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