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Robotic surgery to remove prostate drastically reduces pain,
scarring, and recovery time for men

NEWARK, NJ -- Last fall, 57-year-old Hopatcong resident Daniel O’Connor was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His doctors offered him two treatment options: radiation therapy, or a new robotic surgery method of removing the prostate that would dramatically reduce his pain, scarring and recovery time. Mr. O’Connor opted for the surgical procedure, known as robotic prostatectomy, and today he says he made the right choice.

“Everything went fine, and after the operation I wasn’t in a lot of pain,” Mr. O’Connor said. “The day after the procedure, I was up and walked all over the nursing unit, and my wife took me home that afternoon.”

Mr. O’Connor’s urologists, Domenico Savatta, MD, and Louis Galdieri, MD, based in West Orange, perform the robotic prostatectomy procedure at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center using the daVinci Surgical System, developed by Intuitive Surgical. Compared to traditional, “open” prostate surgery that leaves an 8-inch scar, requires 2-4 days in the hospital and 4-6 weeks at home to recover, surgery with the daVinci robot is far less invasive and is increasingly becoming the treatment choice of men with prostate cancer.

“The robotic procedure is better for the patient than an open operation,” said Dr. Savatta. “There is less nerve damage, less bleeding, and a better quality of life afterwards.” Men who have undergone the robotic procedure are able to return to work within 1-2 weeks of the operation, and their blood loss during the procedure is so minimal that they are no longer asked to donate their own blood pre-operatively, as patients undergoing the open operation are asked to do.
Dr. Galdieri, who has been performing the open prostatectomy for 20 years, said the use of robotics is changing medicine. “It is better to not transfuse a patient and to get them out of the hospital sooner. This is a very exciting option for men with prostate cancer.”

The FDA-approved daVinci Surgical System gives surgeons the control, range of motion and 3-D visualization that is characteristic of open surgery. Robotic-assisted surgery incorporates techniques that allow the surgeon to operate through several small incisions about the size of a dime. The daVinci system consists of a surgeon’s console, a patient-side cart, a high performance 3-D vision system and EndoWrist articulating instruments. In the operating room, the surgeon sits at the console with his hands on the master controls and his eyes on a 3-D image of the surgical field. From the patient-side cart, four robotic arms and one endoscope arm precisely translate the surgeon’s movements through small incisions in the patient.

Surgeons at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center have been using the daVinci Surgical System since the winter of 2003, when the medical center’s cardiothoracic surgery team, under the direction of Craig Saunders, MD, began using it to perform procedures including mitral valve repair and “beating heart” coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Since then, Newark Beth Israel pediatric urologist Jeffrey Stock, MD, became the first physician in the state to use the daVinci system to perform robotic surgery on pediatric patients, in this case pyeloplasty, a procedure to repair a blockage in the kidney. Dr. Stock has since added other robotic procedures to the list of options he offers his patients.
To locate a physician who performs robotic surgery at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, please call 1-800-THE-BETH.
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center is a 671-bed regional referral teaching hospital with specialized programs including heart and kidney transplantation, cardiac surgery, oncology, and maternal/child health services. Newark Beth Israel is the site of Children’s Hospital of New Jersey, the state’s premier hospital caring for children, with specialized services to treat ill and injured children from newborn through adolescent years, including more than 30 pediatric specialties.

Source: Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Release Date: February 2005

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