Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New prostate surgery not better

CHICAGO - MEN who have less invasive prostate cancer surgery - often done robotically - are more likely to be incontinent and have erectile dysfunction than men who have conventional open surgery, US researchers said on Tuesday.

Many men, especially those who are wealthy and highly educated, favour minimally invasive surgery because they assume the high-tech approach will yield better results, but the evidence on that is mixed, the team reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr Jim Hu of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston said that the use of minimally invasive surgery has taken off since the introduction and heavy marketing of robot-assisted surgery, such as the da Vinci system made by Intuitive Surgical Inc.

The system consists of robotic arms, controlled from a console, that allow surgeons to perform less invasive surgeries. Hospitals advertise the systems as being able to reduce trauma, blood loss, risk of infection, scarring and often pain.

While both approaches fared equally well as a cancer treatment, they found that men who got the minimally invasive approach had shorter hospital stays, were less likely to need blood transfusions, and had fewer breathing problems after surgery than those who got conventional surgery.

But they were also more likely to have complications involving the genital and urinary organs, and they were more often diagnosed as having incontinence and erectile dysfunction than men who got open surgery. -- REUTERS

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