Introduction to Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery, most commonly performed with the Intuitive da Vinci platform, has been established as the most effective, least invasive radical surgical treatment option for prostate cancer. It is an upgrade from laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, with advanced technology and added benefits for both the patient and the surgeon.

The surgeon is always in full control of the robot. As opposed to a 2D laparoscopic surgery image, robotic surgery utilises a high definition 3D image, making it much easier to perform the operation and preserve delicate adjacent structures. The miniaturised, wristed instruments provide greater dexterity and precision, leading to improved outcomes, reduction in complications and much quicker recovery rates.

Patients who undergo da Vinci surgery benefit from shorter hospital stays and faster recovery, allowing them to return to work and leisure activities much sooner. After a robotic prostatectomy, patients spend only one night in hospital, and less than a week for cystectomy. In 2022, the length of stay in Wolverhampton for both of these procedures was recorded by NHS data as the shortest in the country.

Leading Robotic Surgery Experts in the Midlands

Peter Cooke founded Midlands Urology in 2007. He switched to robotic surgery in 2011, becoming the first urologist in Birmingham and the surrounding areas to offer this service. The clinics serve patients living in Birmingham, the Black Country, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

Peter is a UK expert in urological cancer surgery, and has personally performed over 1,500 laparoscopic and robotic prostatectomy procedures, setting the standard in surgical precision in the Midlands. Thanks to his expertise and caring nature, Peter has been named as one of the top 20 urologists in the UK by the Daily Mail.

Peter is now offering robotic prostatectomy surgery at the stunning new Harborne Hospital from Spring 2024.

The video clip below created by the European Association of Urology demonstrates the principles of a robotic prostatectomy operation.

What do I need to do before my surgery?

  • Stay as active as possible in the weeks leading up to your surgery. This will help with the healing process post-surgery.
  • You may need to stop taking certain medication, such as blood thinners, in the days leading up to your surgery. This will be discussed with your doctor at the prostate clinic in advance, who will advise you on best practices.
  • Don’t eat in the 8 hours leading up to your surgery.
  • Drink plenty of water the day before, and do not consume any alcohol for at least 48 hours before the operation.

After the robotic prostate surgery

  • To recover from robotic surgery in the UK, you will typically need just one night in the hospital.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for at least one month after the prostatectomy. You can start driving again a week later.
  • You may need to take some time off work until you recover. Most patients take around a month off work, but if you work from home, you may feel fit to return sooner.
  • Patients will have a catheter in the days following the procedure. This can be easily removed at any of our prostate clinics in the west midlands, or at home with your doctor’s guidance.

What are the benefits of robotic surgery?

  • Robotic surgery allows for faster recovery and quicker return to daily activities.
  • The incisions are much smaller than with open surgery, so less scarring occurs.
  • The robot allows the surgeon to operate with enhanced precision, so there is less risk of bleeding or damaging surrounding tissues.

What are the risks of robotic surgery?

  • There is always a risk of infection at the surgical site with any type of surgery.
  • Some patients experience urine leakage or erectile dysfunction after the surgery.
  • Bleeding during the procedure can occur, but it’s usually minimal.

How does the da Vinci robot work?

  • The arms have flexible EndoWrists, which bend and twist like humans.
  • The da Vinci robot uses a 3D camera to create magnified, high-definition images of the surgical area.
  • A surgeon operates the robot remotely using a console with foot and hand controls.

As Peter and his colleagues explain in the video below, robotic surgery in Wolverhampton has expanded across a wide range of surgical specialities.

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Peter Cooke

Mr Peter Cooke MB ChB MD FRCS England FRCS Ireland FRCS (Urology) is a leading urological surgeon and cancer specialist.

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