Georgia’s First Robotic Prostate Removal

Richard Belcher: For the first time in Georgia a robot has been used in a prostate cancer operation. The procedure was done at St Josephs Hospital in North Atlanta. Channel 2’s Dr. Randy Martin is here to show us how it went.

Dr. Martin: You know I don’t want any kind of surgery but when somebody says we’re going to have a robot operate on you. You’ll say “oh”. But through tremendous advantages. Everyday prostate cancer claims the lives of eighty American men. Now if its found early it can be treated and one treatment is obviously the surgery to remove the cancerous prostate. While there have been many improvements in the type of surgery to not only take care of the cancer but to also maintain a mans sexual function.  I think one of the most dramatic developments is having this operation preformed by a robot.

Gary Eads: My PSA came back a little bit high.

Dr. Martin: Fifty-one year old Gary Eads was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and he like many men was surprised because he had no symptoms and no family history of the disease.

Gary Eads: And we decided that surgery was going to be my best option.

Dr. Martin: Instead of the traditional surgeries where doctors make open incisions of various sizes. Mr. Eads decided to have an operation that involved his doctor using robotic technology. With this technique small key hole size incisions are used and the surgical instrument which in this case have tiny cameras on them are attached to the robotic arms. The surgeon, Dr. Scott Miller, controls the robot from a nearby console.

Dr. Miller: We place our fingers inside here and by moving these around little wrist instruments will duplicate the movement of my wrist.

Dr. Martin: Using the robot Dr. Miller not only has great control but he’s able to magnify what he sees in the body giving him a better three dimensional view of certain areas.

Dr. Miller: The advantages are tremendous. Its such a precise procedure. The visualization far superior, the blood loss is far less.

Dr. Martin: While the use of the robotic technique for prostate cancer is new and needs to be compared with some of the other surgical approaches it appears that patients can recover much faster than with the traditional open surgery. In fact Mr. Eads spent one night in the hospital and is expected to resume normal activities in about two weeks.

Dr. Miller: Long term you should have an excellent prognosis. Cancer cure rate, sexual function, urinary control and most importantly you should not have any chronic pain.

Dr. Martin: Its wild stuff isn’t it? We’re glad for Mr. Eads and congratulations Dr. Miller. Now we really want you to remember this that you do need to have prostate screening sometime between the age of forty and fifty and that entails a blood test called the PSA it can save your life. Now its also known by eating the proper diet, I’m going to sound like a broken record here, low in fat so that your not over weight and you exercise you can decrease your risk of cancer. One other interesting thin a diet rich in tomatoes and tomato products can be very beneficial in helping prevent prostate cancer. But this robotic surgery is really dramatic. I mean it gives precision and visualization. One down side it cost about  a million dollars to put one of those in. I personally think this is the way a lot of it will be done in the future.