August 4, 2008

Robotic Bladder Cancer Surgery Effective

U.S. medical scientists say they've determined robotic surgery provides bladder cancer patients with dramatically faster recoveries.

Urologic surgeons at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center say they have demonstrated considerable success with robotics for removal of the bladder -- a procedure known as a cystectomy.

Led by Dr. Douglas Scherr, the researchers showed the robotic approach provides similar benefits to prostate resection, including dramatically faster recoveries with equal, or better, surgical precision.

During the procedure involving the da Vinci surgical system, a surgeon makes five to six small abdominal incisions, through which surgical instruments and a tiny stereoscopic camera are inserted. Once the bladder is removed, the surgeon creates a new channel for urine to pass from the body.

While we are only beginning to collect long-term empirical data for the bladder, there are early indications that the surgery is at least as good as open surgery at removing cancer, said Scherr. Our research found that patients treated with robotic surgery had just as good a cancer outcome as those individuals treated at the same center with traditional open surgery.

The study appeared in a recent edition of the British Journal of Urology-International.