Telesurgical Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy
Initial ExperienceRassweiler J.a · Frede T.b · Seemann O.a · Stock C.a · Sentker L.a
aDepartment of Urology Klinikum Heilbronn, and bMedical School of Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Germany
Introduction: Telepresence surgery offers theoretically to overcome two main problems of laparoscopic surgery, i.e. the limitation to only four degrees of freedom and the lack of stereovision. Since 1998, telesurgical minimally invasive procedures have been performed with the da Vinci system mainly for cardiac bypass surgery. Clinical experience in urology is still very limited. We want to present our initial experience using the device for robot–assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Material and Methods: The Intuitive surgical system consists of two main components: the surgeon’s viewing and control console with 3D imaging and the surgical arm unit that positions and maneuvers detachable surgical instruments. These instruments introduced via two 8–mm trocars allow movements in all 6 degrees of freedom due to the EndoWrist technology. The surgeon performs the procedure seated at the console holding specially designed instruments. Highly specialized computer software and mechanics transfer the surgeon’s hand movements exactly to the microsurgical movements of the manipulators at the operative site. We have used a semilunar–shaped 5–trocar arrangement with the robot’s arms at the lateral trocars and two assistant trocars medially. A sixth trocar was used in the right suprapubic area for retraction of the gland. The left assistant used different instruments such as bipolar forceps, Ultracision, Endoclip, whereas the right assistant mainly used the suctcion–irrigation device. Except the first case, the Intuitive System was attached after exposure of Retzius’ space. Results: We have treated 6 patients (2 pT2, 4 pT3, median Gleason score 6). The OR time averaged 315 (242–480) min including pelvic lymph node dissection. No intraoperative complications occurred, 1 patient required transfusions. There were no positive margins, median catheter time was 5 days. 3 patients were completely continent after 1 month. Conclusion: Telerobotic laparoscopic surgery offers several advantages over all presently available techniques, such as all six degrees of freedom, dexterity enhancement, tremor filtering, and stereovision. There is a learning curve with the device, mainly because of the magnification, the 3D image and the lack of tactile feedback. However, only after a short period of time, the experienced surgeon is able to get familiar with the device. However, there are still concerns with respect to the high investment and running costs of the device as well as regarding the necessitity of further developments of instruments for urological procedures.