About Robotic Assisted Radical Prostatectomy
RARP is now the gold standard surgical treatment for prostate cancer. The surgical robot is an instrument that holds the instruments that the surgeon uses. The surgeon sits at the console and directs the robot to manipulate the instruments using specially designed hand grips. Within the console the surgeon is able to see a 3D view of the inside of the body. The surgical robot is a high tech, very expensive piece of equipment that does allow the surgeon to perform the surgery with more precision and better outcomes. The enhanced fine precision enables better sparing of the nerves that surround the prostate and also more precise suturing to enable a good join between the bladder and urethra at the end of the procedure. Due to the better views and enhanced accuracy better outcomes in terms of continence and erections can be achieved than were seen with the older laparoscopic prostatectomy approach. Typically, there are five small incisions across the upper abdomen and the prostate is removed through one of these incisions at the end of the procedure. Patients usually stay one night in hospital after the procedure and have a catheter in their bladder for approximately one week afterwards. Due to the expense of the equipment there are limited number of such robots in the UK and all prostate cancer surgery has been centralised onto designated centres. For Sussex, the designated centre is Eastbourne DGH where the Davinci Robot is kept.
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