April 1st, 2005

Great River Medical Center will be the first facility in the area and the third in the state of Iowa to offer advanced robotic surgical technology to patients with prostate cancer. The system incorporates the latest advances in robotics and computer technology and provides a sophisticated new surgical tool.

Later this month, urologist Kumar Mullangi, M.D., will be the first physician on the hospital’s medical staff to use the system for prostate surgery. The system also has potential applications in several other areas, including general surgery, gynecologic surgery and urologic kidney surgery.

“We are very excited to offer this cutting-edge technology at Great River Medical Center,” said Gail Boyd, director of the hospital’s Surgical Services Department. “Robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery is a less-invasive option for many prostate cancer patients.”

The robotic system enhances the surgeons’ skill with computer technology, enabling them to see vital anatomical structures more clearly and perform surgical procedures more precisely. The technology extends the surgeon’s capabilities by providing a three-dimensional view of the operating field and improving access to the surgical site through small instrument “ports” that eliminate the need for large incisions. The system also provides full freedom of movement at its instrument tips, allowing precise operation in a closed chest, abdomen or pelvis.

“By enhancing surgical capability through improved technology, we can provide patients with better clinical outcomes so they can return to active, productive lives more quickly,” Boyd said. “Patients who undergo robotic surgery consistently report high satisfaction with the procedure.”

For most patients, the benefits over traditional prostate cancer surgery include shorter hospital stays, less pain, less risk of infection, less scarring and faster recovery of continence.

Approximately 16 percent of American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Common treatments for prostate cancer include surgical removal of the prostate gland, hormone therapy and brachytherapy.