Robot Or Surgeon?

Published on August 9th, 2016

During robotic surgery, the doctor operates through quarter-inch incisions using tiny instruments and cameras guided by the robot in order to give a clear view of the operating site and precise control of the tools. In contrast, during conventional surgery, the doctor will make a much larger incision and uses the standard surgical equipment.

Researchers randomly assigned 163 men with localized prostate cancer to robotic surgery and 163 to conventional operations. Early results from the phase 3 trial comparing the two approaches showed no significant differences in health-related and quality-of-life outcomes at the end of 12 weeks. Their analysis included assessment of standard oncologic and quality-of-life parameters, such as positive surgical margins and return of urinary, bowel, and sexual function. The operations were equally as effective in removing cancerous tissue.

Patients will be followed for a total of 2 years to fully assess the longer-term outcomes, including cancer. Until results of this longer follow-up, it is recommended that patients choose a urologist with whom they visit and who is experienced with either open or robotic prostatectomy.

The longer-term outcomes that are yet to be reported that are important, states an expert involved in the study. The full implications for clinical practice will be revealed at the point when longer-term and oncologic outcomes become available.

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Sources: Medscape and The Lancet

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