Why I chose robotic:
1. My urologist, who has performed over 3,000 open surgeries, said that he could not guarantee nerve sparing, due the comparitively smaller size of my prostate (which I have learned is fairly common among men in my age group).
2. I watched a video of an actual surgery broadcast live on the internet. Very impressive.
3. Part of the reason for the large incision with the open is simply the size of the human hand. How else can they get in there? BTW, I think the reason that many non-robotic surgeons talk about how they rely on their ablility to "feel" the cancer is because they cannot see the surgical site because it is surrounded with and covered by blood. Think of how slippery things are with your hand in a latex glove, covered with blood, holding onto a scalpel!
4. With robotic, the surgeon has a magnified, clear, bloodless view of the surgical site. The motions of the scalpel and paddles are extremely refined and allow for superb control. Consider that I got my catheter out in 4 (yes, 4!!) days. The anastomosis was sealed and solid and my surgeon has had enough experience (1700+ robotic surgeries) to know that his patients are typically physically well enough to have the catheter out in 4 days.
5. In my particular case he mentioned that the nerve on the right hand side was difficult to free up. He suspected that this might be due to the location of one or more of the biopsy cores causing an adhesion. He uses a so-called retrograde nerver sparing approach. But, he took his time and was able to spare the nerve. Would a traditional surgeon have been able to do this? I don't know.
Where I live, the DaVinci is rapidly becoming THE way. Barnes Jewish Hospital just now, this year, has finally ordered a davinci robot. The other local center has had theirs for about 2 or 3 years.
Ohio State, where I went for my surgery, started out with two robots about 4 years ago and has now ordered another two.
As my surgeons said, during our follow-up telecon the other night, after hearing about my excellent healing and progress on the incontinence front, "All the other guys I operated on the same day as you are doing equally well. We feel we've got most of the bugs worked out of this surgery now."
For me, no question which is better. I hope you can track down an experienced robotic surgeon for your father.
Good luck with your father's treatment, whichever method he eventually chooses.
PSA 3.76, Gleason 6, T1c, scans negative
psa doubling time 35 months
Da vinci robotic scheduled for Thursday, May 31