Minimally Invasive vs. Open Prostatectomy

Minimally invasive prostatectomy means removing the prostate through a smaller incision that has been used in the past. A camera is used to view the inside of the body and the surgeon performs the operation by looking at a television screen rather than directly at the patient. It can be done with the surgeon holding the instruments directly or by a using a robotic instrument. When done robotically, the surgeon sits at a table several feet from the operating table and the the instruments are connected to robotic arms that are controlled by the surgeon. These newer high tech surgical approaches for prostate cancer have become fairly widespread throughout the world with claims of easier recovery and better results. But what are the facts? Is this approach truly better or is the skill of the surgeon more important for determining the results. Both are discussed in the accompanying video. (Updated December, 2010)