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Robot improves care for prostate cancer patients

St. Michael’s Hospital is pioneering the use of a less invasive robotic surgery system to improve the quality of care for prostate cancer patients.

Toronto, September 19, 2008

RobotSt. Michael’s Hospital is pioneering the use of a less invasive robotic surgery system to improve the quality of care for prostate cancer patients.

The da Vinci System is a sophisticated robotic platform designed to expand the surgeon’s capabilities, and for the first time offer a minimally invasive option for major surgery. The hospital is the first in Toronto to use the revolutionary robot for prostate cancer surgeries. This translates into better surgery, better outcomes, and quicker recovery time for patients.

A surgeon operates on a patient using long instruments inserted through "keyhole" incisions in the skin. The robot’s range of motion helps surgeons manoeuvre at tricky angles and gives them more precision during delicate procedures. The surgeon sits at a console, away from the operating table, and manipulates the four robotic arms using joystick-like controls. Three of four arms carry out the surgery; the fourth arm acts as a camera operator and light source used to guide the surgeon at the console.

This advance comes at a time when a growing number of men in their 40’s are suffering from prostate cancer. The disease will afflict one in eight men, and those with a family history are at higher risk. According to Prostate Cancer Research Foundation, 22,300 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, while many more cases will go undiagnosed due to men's unwillingness to go for annual check-ups.