robotic prostate surgery header graphic
Prostate Problem Guide

Robotic Prostate Surgery

Robotic prostate surgery is still very much in its infancy having only gained FDA approval in 2001 but, along with other forms of robotic surgery, is growing rapidly.

prostate doctor image

The first company to enter the field of robotic surgery was Computer Motion in 1989 who released the Aesop™ robotic system at the end of 1993. This was not terribly successful however as it was controlled using foot pedals and, although these were very effective, it was extremely difficult for surgeons to use to operate the pedals.

In 1996 a voice controlled system known as the Aesop 2000 was released and this was followed 2 years later by the Aesop 3000. In no time at all literally thousands of operations were being performed using Aesop robotic systems.

At about the same time Intuitive Surgical entered the field and proved to be a strong competitor using technology developed at the Stanford Research Institute and with strong collaborative partners such as IBM, MIT, Olympus Optical, Johnson & Johnson and others.

Intuitive Surgical developed the da Vinci® Surgical system, which received FDA approval in 1997, and by mid 2000 had developed the world's first laparoscopic robotic surgical system. A hand controlled system incorporating a unique 3D vision system, the da Vinci Surgical system soon took the lead in robotic surgery but quickly became embroiled in a legal battle with Computer Motion over patent infringements.

After a lengthy battle things were finally resolved when Intuitive Surgical acquired Computer Motion in 2003 leaving them today as the world's foremost supplier of robotic surgery equipment.

The da Vinci® Surgical system consists of 4 main components:

1. The surgeon's console.

The surgeon sits at a console which is placed to one side of the operating theatre and from here he views the operation site through a specially designed 3D viewing system.

The instruments which are used to perform the surgery are then hand operated with an extremely high degree of precision by remote control through the surgeon's console.

2. The patient-side cart.

The patient-side cart is essentially the 'robot' which stands beside the operating table and consists of a variable number of interchangeable operating arms which are used to carry the instruments required for the particular operation, as well as an endoscope arm to enable the surgeon to view the site of the operation.

An assistant stands by the patient-side cart and can change the instruments needed as required.

3. Detachable instruments.

In many ways it is the advance in instrument technology that have made robotic surgery possible and today and the range of instruments available and the degree of manipulation possible with these instruments is truly a technological marvel.

The Endowrist instruments, all of which are detachable, can be changed quickly and easily using quick-release levers and allow the surgeon to carry out the most delicate of surgery with a very high degree of precision.

4. 3D vision system.

The 3D vision system used by the da Vinci® Surgical system provides enhanced 3D images of the operation site with real-time high resolution magnification.

This vision system provides the surgeon with an excellent view of the operation site which is far superior to that seen even in open surgery

Combined with the high degree of precision in manipulation possible for the robotic arms and instruments, the surgeon can carry out even the most delicate of surgery.

Additional Reading:

A Revolutionary Prostate Operation

Robotic Prostate Surgery - The da Vinci System

Further information on robotic prostate surgery:

'Narcissistic' surgeons charge cancer patients exorbitant out-of-pocket costs without disclosing alternatives - Brisbane Times

Brisbane Times

'Narcissistic' surgeons charge cancer patients exorbitant out-of-pocket costs without disclosing alternatives
Brisbane Times
The most brazen example was robotic surgery for prostate cancer, Professor Aranda said, which attracted out-of-pocket fees of between $15,000 to $30,000, despite there being no evidence to suggest robotic surgery offered patients better cancer or ...

and more »

Fighting prostate cancer: Treatments evolve, from robotic surgery to hormonal therapy -

Fighting prostate cancer: Treatments evolve, from robotic surgery to hormonal therapy
John Grabowski lies on an operating table at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick as eight nurses meticulously prepare him for prostate cancer surgery. Wearing blue scrubs, face masks, hairnets and gloves, the nurses shave ...
Tree nuts can reduce prostate cancer patients' mortality risk: studyNH Voice

all 77 news articles »

Recovery is fast after robotic prostate surgery - AsiaOne


Recovery is fast after robotic prostate surgery
Q If I need to have prostate surgery, is using robotic surgery safe? How does it work?And what are the advantages of such surgery? A Robotic surgery refers to the use of a robotic surgical platform known as the da Vinci surgical system, manufactured by ...
Da Vinci provides robotic precision in prostate
Da Vinci robotic technology revolutionizes

all 3 news articles »