BDCyclist said: Most of you talk about experienced uro or surgeons. Other than asking the doctors themselves, is there a way to get information from another source?
Your question is a great question and one I researched before my DaVinci procedure. In the early time period of learning about PC, treatment options and consequences it is difficult to assess opinions about different doctors and their skills.
In the 2 years leading up to my diagnosis and surgery I met with 4 different Urologists and my local GP. The first Uro to detect a node on my prostate during a DRE was with a non-profit organization in AZ called Prostate Onstite Project (POP). When I followed up with a regular Uro specialist he confirmed the abnormal DRE but did not think it necassary to do a biopsy.
I discovered some internet MD Reviews that rated this doctor as "old school" and with below average patient reviews. Even with me finding out that he was reviewed as below average, I did not increase my sense of urgency to investigate my abnormal DRE. That was probably a mistake that allowed my PC to progress to pT3b but I will never absolutely know that for sure.
A year later, the POPs Uro again detected a node on my prostate and my PSA increase a little. This Uro made a point of increasing my sense of urgency. He was very concerned and very knowledgeable.
The next Uro I met with was very good. He did the biopsy that confirmed the PC. He said he had done about 200 DaVinci procedures. I attempted to do some internet research on him but could not find much information. When I pressed him for his skill level, he told me he wished he could tell me the names of some of his patients that were all doing fine but he could not do that.
I contacted a friend of mine that I knew had been down the PC path and talked about PC options with him. All this was before I found this PC Healing Well forum. He had selected the DaVinci option from a different Uro. I did some internet investigation into this surgeon and discovered he was very experienced with the DaVinci and had been doing that procedure for about 10 years. I made an appointment with him and subsequently went for it. This Uro did interoperative biopsies and removed the seminal vesicals. I do not know if all Uros do this regularly but I am very pleased that mine did this.
From my perspective, prostatectomy, as well as the other PC treatment options, are high stakes procedures so I wanted to give myself the best chance possible. Before my DaVinci prostatectomy I knew that every individual PC case is different and that I could possibly end up incontinent, ED, and/or still having PC. But, I, and as we all do, wanted to give myself the best chances for the best outcome.
It took me 11 weeks to attain full continence and that is great. At 6 months post-op I am still ED but there occasionally is some moderate wood. And best of all, I had negative margins and my first PSA was undectable.
In hindsight, I have learned much more about PC and treatment options since my DaVinci than before my operation. I kind of wished I researched the various radiation options more prior to my procedure, but I am very pleased with the treatment choice I made.
Other than general internet searching, knowing other guys that know specific Uros, and asking the Uros themselves, I do not really know how to find out more information about specific Uros or ROs. There are good lists of questions on this site that others have posted that can help you with your research.
Hope this helps a little,
Rob in AZ
Age 58 @ DX; da Vinci on 1/26/2011
PSA History: 10/2005 = 1.7; 10/2007 = 2.8; 10/2009 = 3.6; 10/2010 = 4.9
Abnormal DRE in 2009; Increasingly abnormal DRE in 2010
Thank you POPs!
Biopsy 11/2010: GS = 3+4; 5 of 12 cores pos @ 40%
Post-OP pathology: GS=3+4; tumor = 35%; pT3b; SVI+; EPE+ R. bladder neck; margins neg.
Post-OP PSA 4/13/11 = <0.1