Frequently Asked Questions About Robotic Prostatectomy

Q. Why should I choose robotic prostatectomy instead of traditional open surgery?

A. If your doctor recommends surgery to treat your prostate cancer, you may be a candidate for robotic prostatectomy. This new, less-invasive surgical procedure utilizes a state-of-the-art surgical system that helps your surgeon see vital anatomical structures more clearly and to perform a more precise surgical procedure.

For most patients, robotic prostatectomy offers numerous potential benefits over open prostatectomy, including:

  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less pain and pain medication
  • Less blood loss and transfusions
  • No blood donation necessary from the patient
  • Less scarring
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to normal activities

As with any surgical procedure, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is both patient- and procedure-specific.

Q. What is robotic surgery?

A. Robotic surgery is a laparoscopic approach to the treatment of prostate cancer. The da Vinci robot is used to assist in surgical removal of the prostate by providing three-dimensional vision, magnification and an articulating robotic wrist.

Q. Does the robot perform surgery by itself?

A. No. The robot has no independent thought. It just recreates the actions performed by the surgeon at the console in a more precise manner.

Q. Is the procedure performed in the same manner as the open surgery?

A. Yes. The prostate is removed entirely, along with the seminal vesicles.

Q. Can lymph nodes also be removed during the robotic procedure?

A. Yes.

Q. Does the robotic prostatectomy surgery require general anesthesia?

A. Yes, general anesthesia is required. Robotic prostatectomy offers many advantages compared to conventional surgery, but it is nevertheless a major operation.

Q. Will I need to donate blood to have available during my robotic prostatectomy?

A. One benefit of this procedure is minimal loss of blood, so you will not have to donate your own blood to have on hand for transfusion.

Q. How long will I have to stay in the hospital after surgery?

A. Most robotic prostatectomy patients are able to go home within 24 hours after surgery.

Q. How soon can I resume normal activities?

A. Every patient is different, and healing time depends on your particular circumstances. Most patients, however, are able to resume normal activities about 7 days after surgery.

Q. Will I have a urinary catheter after the surgery?

A. Yes. A urinary catheter is required to ensure adequate bladder drainage and facilitate healing.

Q. How soon can I bathe after the surgery?

A. You may shower after you get home, but bathing in the tub is not recommended for the first two weeks. Treat the incision sites carefully and dry them by patting, rather than rubbing.

Q. Will I have normal urinary control after this procedure?

A. Most patients experience some incontinence immediately following catheter removal, but urinary control generally returns with time.

Q. Will I be sterile (unable to father children) after this procedure?

A. Yes. All patients who have a radical prostatectomy, regardless of the type of surgery used, will be sterile.

Q. Will I be able to resume normal sexual relations after this procedure?

A. Not immediately, although erectile function returns for most patients within 9 to 12 months. Some patients are able to resume sexual intercourse within a shorter time.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu