Revolutionizing Prostate Cancer Treatment



Photography by Brian Ambs

One out of every seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2015, approximately 220,800 new cases were diagnosed in the United States. Although the statistics are startling, an effective and minimally invasive procedure using the da Vinci Surgical System presents encouraging outcomes for patients with prostate cancer.

​Nilesh Patil, MD, a UC Health urologist at West Chester Hospital and associate professor of urology, specializes in prostate cancer, urology and robotic surgery. He explains how robotic prostatectomy, with the da Vinci Surgical System, is advantageous compared to other forms of surgical methods. “The robot allows for visual magnification, allowing the surgeon to easily access deep into the pelvis, which is sometimes difficult to reach,” says Patil. “With the utilization of three robotic arms, we are able to perform fine surgery and outcomes are better.” 

Prior to this state-of-the-art technology, patients were required to use a catheter for up to 10 days following surgery. The revolutionary no-catheter technique involves draining urine directly from the bladder through a small incision above the pubic bone via a small tube. “Patients experience less pain with this technique and the outcomes are no different when the surgery is performed at experienced medical centers like UC Health,” says Patil. UC Health is the first Ohio healthcare system to offer robot-assisted prostatectomy without the need for a post-op catheter.    

Surgeons use the da Vinci robot to make five small incisions in the abdomen, each about eight to nine milimeters in width. The camera port attains access through the patient’s navel, divulging a clear view with three-dimensional magnified images, allowing the surgeon to remove the prostate, using the three robotic arms. Complex operations are aided by the increased vision, precision, dexterity and control of the da Vinci robot.

“It is a very successful operation and is now the most common method prostate cancer is treated surgically in the United States,” says Patil. “We have been able to demonstrate its success in terms of survival and preserving sexual function and urinary control,” says Patil. Other benefits of the robotic surgery include less pain, blood loss, scarring, fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay and quicker return to normal activities. 

Patil describes a common robotic surgery candidate as an individual in their 50s or 60s, with cancer localized in the prostate and a desire to have the prostate surgically removed. 

In 1999, Patil began training at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan – the first hospital in the world to routinely use the robotic surgery system to treat prostate cancer. Patil has published extensively on prostate cancer and robotic surgery and has presented his work at various national and international meetings.

UC Health’s urology team performs more than 200 robot-assisted radical prostatectomies annually.

West Chester Hospital is located at 7700 University Drive, West Chester, Ohio 45069. You can reach them at 513.298.3000 or visit their website at www.uchealth.com/westchesterhospital.