Robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
The da Vinci robot has revolutionised the surgical removal of the prostate as a treatment for cancer. In the USA, there are now over 600 robots in use; however in the UK, there are currently only eight (five of them in the NHS) and as yet very few surgeons able to perform the technique. The number of cases performed by our Prostate Centre team outrivals any in the UK and we rank third in the world outside the USA. You can be confident that your surgeon, anaesthetist and back-up team have worked together since initial training and are highly experienced in looking after patients who choose this treatment.
Who is it suitable for?
Men who are in good general health, aged under 75 (depending on the individual) and whose cancer is localised to the prostate gland. Men with urinary problems due to an enlarged prostate will have these symptoms relieved.
How does it work?
The da Vinci machine provides a minimally invasive means of removing the prostate gland via 4-6 small perforations rather than one longer incision.
The robot does not perform the operation. Its movements are controlled by the surgeon, who is seated in the same room but away from the patient and is able to carry out precise and controlled movements using tiny, 7mm instruments at the end of the robotic arms. These instruments have a 360º range of movement and can be manipulated intricately because of the powerful 10x magnification and 3D view that the surgeon has at the console. They dissect the delicate structures, eliminating the tremor associated with traditional laparoscopy.
The benefits compared with traditional “open” prostate surgery may include reduced risk of sexual dysfunction and incontinence due to better visualization of the anatomy; although some impairment of these functions remain a common, if usually temporary, side-effect. There is also less scarring, much less blood loss and less pain, leading to a shorter hospital stay, faster removal of catheter, quicker recovery and return to normal activities.
The procedure is approved by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence).
Where is it done?
Our team uses The London Clinic, which is the only hospital in the country to have the latest-generation da Vinci ‘S’ machine together with High Definition technology.
How much does it cost?
Self-funding patients can expect to pay around £20-£22,000 for this procedure. Insured patients are normally covered, sometimes in full but in many cases with a considerable shortfall in benefit which has to be paid personally. It is therefore vital to make sure you understand any limits to your cover before proceeding to book this operation.