Robotic-assisted surgery results in smaller incisions, quicker recovery

Apr 19,2013
When a biopsy revealed cancerous tissues in Paul Steele’s prostate glands last year, he and his wife, Michelle, sat down with, Dr. Layron Long, a urologist with Samaritan Urology in Corvallis, to better understand what Paul was facing and to learn about his options.

Long outlined several treatments for Steele to consider which included: surveillance and monitoring for a year, radiation therapy, traditional surgery or a robotic-assisted prostatectomy.

“Because prostate cancer can be slow growing, my wife and I initially thought we’d just wait and see and do surveillance and monitoring for year,” said Steele. But like many facing a cancer diagnosis, Steele admitted that he was nervous about letting cancer grow inside of him instead of removing it immediately.

“I was a bit apprehensive about the wait and see approach,” said Steele. “So, Michelle and I researched the other options, and robotic surgery really stood out to us as the best path. That it is a minimally invasive procedure with less blood loss, less scaring and less time in the hospital made it very appealing.”

According to Long, “The precision the DaVinci affords a surgeon is another plus. During a robotic prostatectomy, the tiny cameras of the da Vinci robot give me 10 times the magnification of the naked eye, and overall range-of-motion increases to 360 degrees. Improved sight and mobility help us preserve the nerves and blood vessels which surround the prostate.”

The Steeles watched several robotic-assisted prostatectomy procedures online to learn more, and they also researched Long. “Between what we learned about the procedure itself and Dr. Long’s extensive background, we were very impressed. We knew robotic surgery was the right choice,” said Steele. 

Steele underwent surgery a couple of months after the initial diagnosis, and was in and out of the hospital within 24 hours.

“I am very happy that I elected to have the robotic-assisted prostatectomy,” said Steele. “I can’t say enough good things about the entire experience. I had minimal pain. My recovery was fairly quick, and I felt very prepared by Dr. Long and his staff. He is an incredible physician. I am very impressed with my care.”

Today, Long often refers patients considering a robotic-assisted prostatectomy to talk with Steele about his experience.

“While I recommend the procedure, everyone needs to decide what treatment option is best for them,” said Steele. “I hope that as I talk with patients who are considering it, that I am able to answer their questions and alleviate some of their concerns. It was the right decision for me, and at six months post surgery, tests indicate no reoccurrence.”

Prostate cancer affects one in six men in the United States during their lifetime, and one in 36 will die from the disease. For more information, visit samhealth.org.

Visit our Samaritan Robotic-Assisted Surgery Program page.
Our Samaritan Urology page has more information on prostate cancer.

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