Robot-assisted prostate surgery now available at Montefiore

New York 12 December 2005Montefiore Medical Center is now performing minimally invasive prostate surgery using the latest in robot-assisted technology. Reza Ghavamian, MD, the director of Urologic Oncology at Montefiore is using a new robotic surgical system for the removal of cancerous prostate glands and says the new technique will mean less pain and quicker recoveries for patients.


Having successfully performed almost 300 pure laparoscopic prostatectomies over the past several years, Dr. Ghavamian has perfected his technique. He will use the new technology as another means of improving patient and prostate cancer care at Montefiore, moving the medical centre to the cutting edge of technology for prostate cancer surgery.

"Adding robotics to our vast range of advanced surgical capabilities dramatically expands our ability to perform minimally invasive techniques", stated Dr. Ghavamian. "Robotics allow us to perform complex procedures endoscopically, through tiny ports of access, which means our patients have less physical trauma, less blood loss, less pain and a more cosmetically-pleasing outcome compared to open surgery."

"More importantly, the vital physical structures that are of utmost importance for the preservation of a man's continence and potency are nicely visible and can be preserved much easier", stated Dr. Ghavamian.

Seated at the system's master console 10 feet away from a patient, a surgeon moves the surgical instruments inside the access ports through ergonomic hand and foot controls. Each of the surgeon's hand, wrist or finger movements is seamlessly translated by the da Vinci Surgical System into corresponding micro-movements of the surgical instruments, which are held steady by the system's robotic arms. The robotic system provides so-called "intuitive motion" so that in whichever direction the surgeon twists the controls, the instruments twist in the same direction. In standard laparoscopic surgery, the movement of the instruments is reversed, or similar to doing surgery while looking into a mirror.

"Because the prostate is situated low in the pelvis, it can be difficult to view the area up close and reach it through non-invasive means", stated Dr. Ghavamian. "With this new system we can view the area with the navigational camera in a magnified, high-resolution 3D view and we only need to make a few tiny, 1-centimeter access ports to do so."

Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, ranks among the top one percent of all United States hospitals based on its investments in medical innovation and cutting-edge technology. Montefiore invests more in order to enable compassionate, personalized care and the most positive outcomes for patients and their families in New York, the tri-state area and beyond.

Montefiore's unique combination of "state-of-the-art" technology with "state-of-the-heart" medical and nursing care in a teaching and research environment provides patients with access to world-class medical experts, the newest and most innovative treatments and the best medical centre experience anywhere.

This 1062 bed medical centre includes the Henry and Lucy Moses Division, the Jack D. Weiler Hospital and the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, a large home health care agency and a 21-site medical group practice located throughout the Bronx and nearby Westchester. Montefiore treats all major illnesses and has distinguished centres of excellence in cardiology and cardiac surgery, cancer care, tissue and organ transplantation, children's health, women's health, surgery and the surgical subspecialities. Montefiore Medical Center focuses on providing family-centred health care in a nurturing environment that extends well beyond its hospital and ambulatory settings.

More news on the da Vinci Surgical System is available in the VMW December 2005 article Chindex International announces first Intuitive Surgical sale in China.

Leslie Versweyveld

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