Catheter-less Prostatectomy Reduces Pain and Healing Time

Nearly 90,000 men will have a radical prostatectomy this year to remove their cancerous prostate. Not too long ago, a radical prostatectomy was an invasive “open” surgical procedure that required a huge incision in the abdomen—ensuring patient’s endured a slow and painful road to recovery. But nurturing a belly-button-to-pubic-bone incision wasn’t all men had to contend with as they battled prostate cancer. A penile catheter had to be worn for one or two weeks following surgery. For most men, coping with a catheter ranks right up there with waxing their chest hair.    

When robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomies came on the scene and introduced the use of small “keyhole” rather than large incisions, patients scored several benefits—including less blood loss and pain, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery time. But they still had to tough it out with a catheter for a week or two. The physicians at USMD Prostate Cancer Center in Arlington, Texas have eliminated that worry, though. “We have been performing a revolutionary catheter-less prostatectomy since 2009,” says Justin, T. Lee, M.D, director of robotic surgery at the center. “Sending patients home after surgery without a penile catheter has made a major difference for our patients. Patients are more comfortable with a small tube from the lower abdomen, and we are seeing improved urinary function in the weeks following surgery.”

Research shows that without the penile catheter, prostate patients are about nine times more comfortable following surgery than men who have to wear a catheter for an extended period of time. “Effectively using state-of-the-art technology and methods to help our patients recover from prostate surgery and return to their normal lives as quickly as possible is very important to us,” says Rich Bevan-Thomas, M.D., medical director of USMD Prostate Cancer Center. “We’re very glad we can make this advancement available to our patients.”

USMD Prostate Cancer Center is one of only a few places in the United States that offers the catheter-less prostatectomy. Dr. Bevan-Thomas and Dr. Lee, along with their colleagues—a team of board-certified urologists and robotic surgeons including Dr. Scott Thurman, Dr. David Shepherd and Dr. Keith A Waguespack—have all been on the leading edge of minimally invasive robot-assisted prostatectomies. Today, they all offer the catheter-less robotic prostatectomy and are enthusiastic about its results. In fact, the USMD robotic team began using the technique as early as 2009.  In that time, they have logged countless hours of experience. As early adopters of the da Vinci surgical robot system, the team has performed more than 4,500 robot-assisted prostatectomies—making them one of the most experienced robotic teams in world. 

Oliver Crozby found that level of expertise reassuring when he underwent his robot-assisted prostatectomy at USMD Prostate Cancer Center. “You go in and you’re scared. You don’t know what’s going to happen and they put you at ease right away. Dr. Bevan-Thomas saved my life,” he says.

Phil Wallace, who underwent a robot-assisted prostatectomy performed by Dr. Lee echoes Crozby’s experience. “I couldn’t ask for a better doctor, a better hospital and better results,” he says. “I am so grateful, so thankful for Dr. Justin Lee and USMD Prostate Cancer Center.”

Now the catheter-less prostatectomy is good news for men who may have been reluctant to undergo a radical prostatectomy because they feared pain often associated with a penile catheter. “A prostatectomy can be a life-saving surgery,” Dr. Lee says. “Overall, survivor rates 15 years post-prostatectomy are very high—approximately 93 percent. We don’t want anyone to avoid having a prostatectomy because they are worried about a pain from a penile catheter. By offering the catheter-less prostatectomy, USMD Prostate Cancer Center can help make the journey from cancer patient to cancer survivor more comfortable.”   

Learn more about the revolutionary catheter-less prostatectomy and other treatment options for prostate cancer by calling the USMD Prostate Cancer Center at 1-888-PROSTATE (1-888-776-7828).      

Physicians are independent providers and not employed by USMD Hospital at Arlington, LP.

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