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Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery

If you need to have urologic surgery, it’s important to know that many procedures today can be performed minimally invasively using robotic-assisted technology.

In fact, UMass Memorial is home to urologic surgeons with some of the most extensive robotic surgical experience in the entire state, performing hundreds of procedures each year using the da Vinci® Surgical System. This means you have close-to-home access to a superior level of expertise.  

The Benefits of Minimally Invasive, Robotic-assisted Urologic Surgery

Compared to traditional open surgery – which involves larger incisions – minimally invasive, robotic-assisted surgery is performed through a few tiny incisions. As a result, many patients experience these benefits:

  • Less pain
  • Less scarring
  • Decreased infection risk
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Quicker recovery and return to regular activities
  • Less blood loss
  • Better clinical outcomes

Which Urologic Procedures Can be Performed Using Robotic Technology?

Because it is so precise, robotic-assisted surgery is well suited for delicate, complex urologic procedures, and it has become the standard of care for:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney dysfunction

In children, robotic-assisted surgery may also be used to treat urinary tract disorders and urological congenital abnormalities.

How is Robotic-assisted Urologic Surgery Performed?

When performing robotic surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System, the surgeon sits at a computer console near the patient while an assistant surgeon is at the bedside next to the patient, along with the “robot.”

  • The surgeon controls miniaturized instruments mounted on three robotic arms to make tiny incisions in the patient
  • The surgeon looks through a 3-D camera attached to a fourth robotic arm, which magnifies the surgical site and gives the surgeon a better view than in open surgery
  • The surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements are precisely replicated by the robotic arms at the operating table. These arms can move with even greater range of motion in a tiny space than the human hand and wrist.
  • The assistant surgeon and surgical team assist at the operating table, changing the surgical instruments attached to the robotic arms 

In this way, robotic-assisted surgery combines the precision and accuracy of advanced technology with the judgment and skill of an experienced surgeon.

Is Robotic-assisted Surgery Right For Me?

Because each patient is unique, your surgeon will review your diagnostic tests and determine if you are eligible for this type of surgery. Most patients with localized prostate, bladder or kidney cancer (cancer that hasn’t spread) are candidates for robotic-assisted surgery.