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Urology Surgery

Treating Conditions of the Urinary System

The urinary system includes three main components: the kidneys, the bladder and the ureters. In males, it also includes the prostate. The kidney is responsible for filtering blood, removing waste products and delivering urine through the ureters to the bladder. The ureters are responsible for carrying urine to the bladder. The bladder stores urine, allowing urination to be infrequent and voluntary. The bladder is lined by layers of muscle tissue that stretch to accommodate urine. The normal capacity of the bladder is 400 to 600 milliliters.

Prostate Cancer

Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that uses a computer-assisted technology to aid in surgical procedures. Rather than operating on patients through large incisions, surgeons use miniaturized surgical instruments that fit through a series of small incisions to reduce scarring and recovery time.

The prostate is a male reproductive gland that produces a fluid found in semen. Located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, the prostate surrounds the urethra — the tube that empties urine from the bladder.

Prostate cancer affects the prostate gland and may spread to surrounding structures. While most men with prostate cancer have no symptoms, doctors can find prostate cancer during a regular checkup using a combination of a blood test called a PSA and a digital rectal exam (DRE).

If you have an early diagnosis of prostate cancer, there are usually a range of treatment options. These may include conservative management, radiation therapy with either external bream or brachytherapy therapy, cryosurgery and prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate). Your treatment options will depend on a number of factors, including the stage of the disease, your age and health or personal preference.

Prostatectomy

Surgery around the male reproductive organs and urinary tract requires surgical precision. Conditions like prostate cancer, trouble with urination and bladder and kidney cancer require special care not to damage complicated tissues and nerves surrounding these areas.

Open urologic surgery, in which large incisions are made to access the pelvic organs, has been the standard approach when surgery is warranted. Common drawbacks of this procedure include significant post-surgical pain, a lengthy recovery and an unpredictable, potentially long-term impact on continence and sexual function.

Surgeons at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital utilize the robot to complete minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery for prostatectomy. Because the prostate is not only tightly confined but also surrounded by nerves affecting urinary control and sexual function, robotic-assisted prostatectomy is the standard of care for men requiring a prostatectomy.

Partial Nephrectomy (Kidney Cancer Removal)

Traditional removal of kidney cancer was accomplished through a large flank (side) incision to access the kidney. Frequently, the whole kidney would be removed even for a small cancer. Common effects of this approach included significant post-surgical pain, a lengthy recovery and loss of kidney function. With robotic-assisted laparoscopic tumor removal, small incisions allow the surgeon to access the tumor and leave healthy kidney behind. This minimally invasive approach allows for decreased post-op pain for most patients and a quicker return to normal life.

Ureteropelvic Junction (UPJ) Obstruction/Pyeloplasty

The area where the ureters and kidney meet is called the Ureteropelvic Junction (UPJ). Obstruction of the UPJ or ureter may result in intense side pain. With robotic-assisted laparoscopic pyleoplasty or UPJ reconstruction, small incisions allow the surgeon to remove the obstruction and create a normal pathway for the urine to travel. This minimally invasive approach allows for decreased post-op pain for most patients and a quicker return to normal life.

Potential benefits of robotic-assisted surgery include:

  • Significantly less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Fewer complications
  • Less scarring
  • A shorter hospital stay
  • A faster return to normal daily activities

Robotic-assisted surgery may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.