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Demystifying Robotic Assisted Surgery in Urology: Fact vs. Fiction

When one first thinks about robotic surgery or robotic assisted surgery, the image of a mega robot wearing a surgeon’s mask and gloves often comes to mind. The reality, however, is a far different picture. Here we hope to provide more clarity on the subject and help to demystify robotic surgery in urology.

Fact: Compared to traditional scalpel induced surgical procedures, robotic assisted surgery benefits include a shorter recovery time, significantly less pain, less scarring, decreased risk of wounded infections, less blood loss, a quicker return to normal daily activities, and fewer overall complications. Because robotic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique, it is performed without the need for large incisions often associated with traditional surgical procedures.

Fiction: The robot performs the surgery.

Fact: To perform robotic surgery, Dr. Kenneson uses the world’s most advanced surgical robot, da Vinci® Surgery. This approach utilizes a high-definition 3D camera to perform surgery using four robotic arms and miniaturized instruments that can rotate and bend better than the human hand. During your surgical procedure, Dr. Kenneson controls the robotic surgical system at a nearby control console while another surgeon is at your side. Minimally invasive da Vinci robotic surgery has been used in over 3 million patients worldwide, and Dr. Kenneson is proud to be the only urologist in the area offering this treatment option.

Fiction: There are not many conditions that qualify for robotic surgery, especially in urology.

Fact: Dr. Kenneson uses the minimally invasive da Vinci robotic surgery to assist with procedures that treat a plethora of urologic conditions for both men and women of all ages in urology including pelvic prolapse, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, urinary blockages, kidney dysfunction, urinary tract disorders, congenital abnormalities among many others.

Consider for a moment the traditional laparoscopic and thoracoscopic vasectomy procedure performed with a scalpel involving the removal and sealing of the severed ends of both vas deferens.  Imagine, gentlemen, enjoying a more efficient, less painful way of receiving your procedure. The robotic technique uses penetrating forceps that enter the scrotum through a small opening in a much less invasive way.

Another minimally invasive procedure boasting excellent benefits to its recipients is the robotic prostate cancer surgery.  About 16% of American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, early detection is on the rise and mortality rates are declining thanks to greater public awareness. The traditional surgical removal of the prostate gland involves an open surgery resulting in an eight to ten inch incision and leads to substantial blood loss, a lengthy and painful recovery, and the risk of impotence and incontinence (bladder problems).  The robotic prostatectomy, however, is less invasive, more precise and less painful. Additionally,

Fiction: It is harder to see during surgery when you are operating with a robot.

Fact: In contrast to the slightly awkward positions required for traditional laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon is seated comfortably on the robotic control consul resulting in less physical burden on the doctor.  By placing their hands on the controls of the state of the art robotic platform, surgeons like Dr. Kenneson are able to perform even the most delicate procedures with great precision through very small incisions. In addition, robotic surgeons receive a 3-dimensional view that actually enhances depth perception as opposed to the 2-dimensional image obtained through the regular laparoscopic camera.  This way, the camera motion is steady and controlled by the surgeon via voice-activated or manual master controls. Further, the robotic arm helps to improve the surgeon’s range of motion as if an extension of the surgeon’s own body allowing for more complex surgical movements with greater precision.

Fact: Dr. Kenneson performs robotic surgeries at Orange Park Medical Center’s North Florida Advanced Robotics Institute. To find out if robot-assisted surgery is the best treatment option for your urologic condition, call Bluewater Urology Associates or schedule an appointment online today!

Lauren Rogers

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