What is Robotic Surgery in Urology?
Robotic or robotic surgery is surgery that is performed using specialized robotic machinery. It is a very technologically advanced technique that allows the surgeon to perform surgical procedures in a very precise way. This type of surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia.
The advantages of robotic surgery over traditional open surgery is that, by being able to make smaller and more precise incisions, the recovery time, as well as the pain associated with surgery, is less.
In addition, through this high-precision surgery there is also a greater chance of recovering urinary continence and erectile function, which can be affected by other surgical techniques.
Why is it performed?
More and more surgical treatments are being performed by means of robotic surgery, due to the advantages it offers both the patient and the surgeon. Robotic surgery in urology is used as a treatment for prostate cancer (prostatectomy), kidney cancer (nephrectomy), bladder cancer, genital prolapse and urethral stricture, among other pathologies.
What does it consist of?
Robotic surgery is performed by means of specialized robots, such as the well-known Da Vinci robot. Thanks to this equipment, the surgical instruments are attached to the robot’s arms, and the specialist manipulates them by remote control, i.e., there is no need for him to be in the operating room in person, since everything can be controlled through a computer station. The robot reproduces the surgeon’s movements and reduces the trembling of the human pulse, as well as allowing the surgical instruments to turn 360º and other movements that are impossible for a human being.
While the specialist surgeon performs the intervention, he observes the entire procedure on a monitor by means of a stereoscopic visual system with 3D vision that allows him to appreciate the depth, being able to enlarge the image and therefore better see the section he is operating on.
The Da Vinci robot is one of the most famous robotic surgery systems used in Urology.
Preparation for robotic surgery in Urology
Robotic surgery is a minimally invasive technique, but it is still possible that, depending on the procedure to be performed, the patient may not be able to undergo it. For this reason, it is important that the patient undergoes clinical tests beforehand and that his or her medical history is observed in order to know his or her state of health.
It is also likely that, depending on the surgery to be performed, the patient will have to fast for several hours before the intervention.
Care after surgery
One of the main advantages of robotic surgery is the rapid recovery and postoperative period, compared to conventional open surgery. In many cases the patient may be discharged the same day of surgery. In other cases the patient may remain hospitalized for 24 hours, but in general the patient will not need to follow a special care routine, beyond the medication prescribed by the urologist specialist to avoid postoperative pain.
Alternatives to robotic surgery in Urology
Robotic surgery is a novel system that requires a significant investment in equipment and specific training for surgical specialists. Thus, not all medical centers have access to this method. Alternatively, urological surgeries can be performed by conventional open surgery or, preferably, by minimally invasive surgical techniques such as endoscopy or urological laparoscopy.