Upstate News

January 5, 2003
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Minimally invasive prostate removal surgery offered at University Hospital

A new laparoscopic procedure to remove the prostate is now being performed by urologic surgeons at University Hospital.

Unlike traditional prostate removal surgery, which requires an incision of about 10 inches, laparoscopic surgery requires only four or five small dime-sized incisions made in the lower abdomen through which surgeons can navigate a special scope with camera and surgical instruments to remove the prostate.

“This procedure is becoming increasingly popular for men who opt to have their prostate removed because of cancer diagnosis,” said Bijan Shekarriz, M.D., who is the only surgeon in Central New York currently performing the procedure. “There is less pain, less time spent in the hospital and less blood loss.”

Shekarriz said despite the small incisions needed for laparoscopic surgery, physicians can actually see more of the area in need of surgery. “You can see the structures much better because of the magnification involved with the laparoscopic technology,” he said. “In addition, the operative field is relatively bloodless making for better surgical conditions all around.”

During the procedure surgeons work not only to remove the cancerous organ, but also to avoid impotence and incontinence with nerve sparing surgery.

Patients who undergo laparoscopic prostate removal can usually be discharged from the hospital a day after the surgery. Traditional surgery usually requires a three day stay for recovery. Post-operative catheter use is also less with laparoscopic surgery, and patients can expect a full recovery, returning to work in about two weeks after surgery.

Candidates for laparoscopic prostate removal surgery are men whose cancer has not spread outside the prostate and who have not had previous pelvic surgery.

Researchers are still reviewing data to determine if laparoscopic prostate removal offers the same success as traditional prostate removal in eliminating tumor cells. “Currently there is no evidence to suggest that the laparoscopic prostate removal is not as efficient as the traditional surgery in eliminating the cancer,” Shekarriz said.

Prostate removal, either traditional or laparoscopic, are two methods of available treatments for prostate cancer diagnosis. Others include external radiation therapy and brachytherapy, which is the implantation of radioactive seeds directly into the prostate. This procedure delivers high doses of radiation to the prostate while limiting radioactive exposure to nearby organs. Patients with a diagnosis of prostate cancer may also undergo chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

“There are many choices available to men today for the treatment of prostate cancer and they should discuss all these options with their families and physicians,” said Shekarriz.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men.

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