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Robot-Assisted Prostate Surgery Now at Montefiore

New Surgical System Means Less Pain and Quicker Recovery for Patients

New York City, NY  (Dec. 8, 2005) -- Montefiore Medical Center is now performing minimally invasive prostate surgery using the latest in robot-assisted technology.  Reza Ghavamian, MD, the director of Urologic Oncology at Montefiore, is using a new robotic surgical system for the removal of cancerous prostate glands and says the new technique will mean less pain and quicker recoveries for patients.

Having successfully performed almost 300 pure laparoscopic prostatectomies over the past several years, Dr. Ghavamian has perfected his technique. He will use the new technology as another means of improving patient and prostate cancer care at Montefiore, moving the medical center to the cutting edge of technology for prostate cancer surgery.

"Adding robotics to our vast range of advanced surgical capabilities dramatically expands our ability to perform minimally invasive techniques," said Dr. Ghavamian.  "Robotics allow us to perform complex procedures endoscopically, through tiny ports of access, which means our patients have less physical trauma, less blood loss, less pain and a more cosmetically-pleasing outcome compared to open surgery."

"More importantly, the vital physical structures that are of utmost importance for the preservation of a man's continence and potency are nicely visible and can be preserved much easier," said Dr. Ghavamian.

Seated at the system's master console 10 feet away from a patient, a surgeon moves the surgical instruments inside the access ports through ergonomic hand and foot controls. Each of the surgeon's hand, wrist or finger movements is seamlessly translated by the da Vinci Surgical System into corresponding micro-movements of the surgical instruments, which are held steady by the system's robotic arms. The robotic system provides so-called "intuitive motion" so that in whichever direction the surgeon twists the controls, the instruments twist in the same direction.  In standard laparoscopic surgery, the movement of the instruments is reversed — or similar to doing surgery while looking into a mirror.

"Because the prostate is situated low in the pelvis, it can be difficult to view the area up close and reach it through non-invasive means," said Dr Ghavamian. "With this new system we can view the area with the navigational camera in a magnified, high-resolution 3D view, and we only need to make a few tiny, 1-centimeter access ports to do so."

For more information about the use of surgical robotics and the laparoscopic prostatectomy program at Montefiore, please call (718) 920-8475.