Robotic Surgery for Prostate Cancer

Robotic surgery is minimally-invasive surgery performed with the assistance of a surgical robot that extends the capabilities of the surgeon. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) allows physicians to perform many kinds of major surgery with less patient trauma and pain, minimal scarring, faster recovery and shorter hospital stays. Surgeries are performed through small incisions, which replace the large incisions needed for conventional open surgeries.

Options for the treatment of prostate cancer depend on the stage of your cancer. Learn More>> How is Prostate Cancer Staged? Understand how staging is done using the TNM system.

Radical Prostatectomy: The surgical robot is simply a tool for performing a radical prostatectomy, a procedure to remove the entire prostate gland, the attached seminal vesicles, the ampulla, and the vas deferens, (and in many cases, the lymph nodes). Click here to view the anatomy of the prostate. Optimal results occur when the prostate is removed and pathology reports clear margins (i.e. no cancer present in the tissue surrounding the prostate), urinary continence is maintained by preserving the external sphincter, and potency is maintained by sparing the autonomic nerves in the neurovascular bundle.

The use of robotics takes minimally invasive techniques into a new era, further minimizing the physical and emotional impact of surgery on patients. Robotic technology takes surgery beyond the limits of the human hand, introducing precise, versatile instrument movement combined with three-dimensional visualization of the operative site. By integrating computer-enhanced technology with the surgeon's skill, the robotic-assisted surgical technology enables surgeons to enhance healing and promote well-being by performing minimally invasive surgery in a manner never before experienced.

The robotic surgical system is operated by a surgeon sitting a few feet away from the patient at a console. Using a high-powered camera, the surgeon guides the arms of the robot that holds surgical tools which are inserted into the patient through small, keyhole-sized incisions.

The device has wristed instruments, which allow the surgeon to move his own hands the way he would in a traditional surgery with precision, extraordinary control and range of motion. In addition, the robot's video monitoring system provides a three-dimensional view of the surgery with magnification ten times that of the naked eye allowing surgeons the ability to see the operating field more clearly. Click here for an informational video on the da Vinci Surgical System.

Benefits of Robotic-Assisted Prostatectomy vs. Radical Open Prostatectomy

  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less pain
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less blood loss and transfusions
  • Less scarring
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to normal activities

The da Vinci Surgical System Operating Room

The da Vinci Surgical System Operating Room (illustrated in photo to the right) shows the surgeon at the console and the nurse at the vision cart. Patient would be located on the patient cart.

Learn More>>

FAQs about robotic-assisted prostatectomy


Prostate cancer patients must be actively involved in choosing between several equally effective treatment methods. Patients should be encouraged to research the various options and make their decision taking into account their quality of life concerns along with their work and home life schedules. Although a diagnosis of cancer can be an intimidating experience, the more you are informed about the options available to you the more equipped you will be to make the decision that is best for you.

We encourage you to contact our Patient Navigator at (678) 843-5665 or with any questions regarding Robotic-Assisted Surgery at Saint Joseph's. We're here to help. 

Photo images courtesy of Intuitive Surgical, Inc., ©2010 Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

Information on this page is provided collaboratively by the team at the Prostate Cancer Center at Saint Joseph's and has been medically reviewed by Peter J. Rossi, MD, 2012. Claims regarding treatment are based on years of clinical experience and industry reported data. The PCC follows American Urological Association and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Clinical Practice Guidelines for the treatment of prostate cancer.