Robotic-assisted surgery has become the standard of care for prostate, kidney, and bladder cancer surgery. Once considered fantasy and an invention of one’s imagination, the surgical robot is firmly entrenched in the urologic surgical armamentarium. It is an approach that maximizes laparoscopic and minimally-invasive surgical approaches. At UMass, the majority of prostatectomies for localized prostate cancer, partial nephrectomies for kidney cancer, and cystectomies for bladder cancer are done as robotic-assisted laparoscopic operations. This is an integral component of the UMass Urologic Cancer Program.
The surgical robot is comprised of two primary components: the bedside robot and the surgeon’s console. The bedside robot has four “arms” that control the camera and the surgical instruments. Meanwhile, a surgeon sits at a console which controls the movements of the bedside robot. The console can be in the same room as the patient or, in the true spirit of 21st century global cyber-communications, can be located half-way across the world from the operation.
The introduction of the surgical robot has advanced the application of minimally invasive and laparoscopic surgery to a wider range and deepening complexity of operations. Nowhere was this more prevalent than with the emergence of the robotic prostatectomy as a preferred method for treating localized prostate cancer. This was rapidly expanded for use in kidney cancer and bladder cancer. Faculty members at UMass are very experienced in using the surgical robot and it is an integral part of our cancer program.