Posted 6/8/2009 10:03 AM (GMT -6)
I think we should have a fixed page where we can post outcomes and surgeon names. This would make it easier for someone to find an outstanding surgeon and avoid a not-so-good one.
Even if we just posted the best, avoided negatives, that would be sufficient and less controversial. This is a post I put on MDJunction four months post op (successful Da Vinci RP):
I can't emphasize how important it is to find the right surgeon for your Robotic RP. I had a very successful outcome, dry the day after the catheter was pulled, and good and consistently improving erectile capability.
But, I did my homework, after starting out with an urologist who did NOT have MY best interests at heart.
As you read the posts here and elsewhere, there is one underlying thread: If the surgery is done by an experienced, competent, and motivated surgeon, then you will have a great outcome.
Like car mechanics, gymnasts, artists, Presidents, actors, etc, etc, there are great surgeons, good surgeons, and those who should never have picked up a scalpel (or sat down at the Da Vinci console, in this case).
The good surgeons are known within the medical community. The nurses who work in the OR know who is good, and who shouldn't be there. They all try to keep this information to themselves. Unless the guy is killing patients consistently, no one tells. Your job is to ferret this information out. You want the best. Your wife wants the best! Only the diaper companies want Dr Quaaack.
If you are young (I'm 64), your RP outcome is going to affect the rest of your life. Continence (or lack thereof) and erectile ability will color the way you look at the world, enhance or destroy your relationship with your significant other, and in the end, determine who you are and what you can and can't do with the rest of your life. Erectile function? Well, if that's not important to you then I guess any surgeon will do.
Isn't all this worth spending as much time as necessary to find the right guy? BEFORE the surgery?
But, it's clear from the posts and talking to other PC survivors, few do the homework for such an important decision. There is this huge inertia, fueled by confusion and despair.
Do you feel bad about getting a second opinion?
Asking for referrals from your primary care physician? Talking to friends, family, associates?
Too lazy to search out the PC survivors group in your area and find out their outcomes (and surgeons' names)!
Don't want to hurt your urologist's feelings (even though you're somewhat suspicious of what he's saying to you)?
Wake up, Bunky! It's your prostate, not his.
You are going to be the one who has no erection and who pee's his pants -not your urologist.
He may be sympathetic to your plight, but I guarantee he won't give you your money back -and he sure can't do anything about your bladder control and sexual ability even if he did.
Successfully re-attaching the bladder neck to the urethra and successfully separating the nerve bundles from the prostate capsule is time consuming, delicate, and requires experience and skill. It's a sad fact, but we are not all equally gifted.
You want the Michael Phelps of surgeons to do this procedure. Sure, the new guys have to practice somewhere, but NOT ON YOUR PROSTATE!
There have been a lot of recent innovations in both these areas (bladder control and erectile ability). Read up on them (Johns Hopkins and Weill Cornell talk about this on their sites). Educate yourself so you can talk to your potential surgeon with knowledge and confidence. Google Da Vinci prostatectomy to hear discussion of the latest techniques. Look at the procedure on YouTube. It's a lot of work.
Living in a rural area is no longer an excuse either. The robotic RP done by a competent surgeon is so minimally invasive that you can travel to a well-recognized hospital for the surgery, spend the night in the hospital, and a few days later, return home.
You have ONE SHOT here! You DON'T get a second chance!
This ranks up there with choosing the right wife. You didn't marry the first girl who came along, did you? What if you had?
The guy with the best bedside manner is NOT necessarily the best surgeon. He's probably the best car salesman, but you're not buying a car.
Why not "date" a few surgeons before you make the final decision? You'll wish you had afterwards, if you get the wrong one!