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Live Webcast Will Give Close-up View of Robotic Surgery for Prostate Cancer Offered by Jefferson’s Multidisciplinary Urologic Cancer Team

Two forms of high technology will join together this January to allow the public and physicians to view a less invasive surgery for prostate cancer from the comfort of their home or office.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital will host a live webcast of a radical laparoscopic prostatectomy, on Thursday, January 19, 2006, at 4:30 p.m., using a futuristic, state-of-the art robotic technology, called the daVinci ® System. The webcast can be viewed at

“Webcast viewers will see how laparoscopic surgery offers potential advantages to patients, including less trauma through smaller incisions, faster recovery and less overall blood loss during surgery,” said Leonard Gomella, M.D., FACS, chair of Urology and Bernard Godwin, Jr. Professor of Prostate Cancer, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and director of Urologic Oncology, Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. Jefferson’s multidisciplinary Genitourinary (GU) cancer center celebrates its 10th anniversary in January.

“We were the first institution in the Delaware Valley to offer laparoscopic prostatectomy in 2000 and have the longest experience in the region.”

Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University is also accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The new robotic system further refines laparoscopic prostatectomy by allowing a surgeon’s hand movements to be scaled, filtered and translated into precise movements of micro-instruments within the operative site. The magnified, three-dimensional view the surgeon experiences enables him or her to perform precise surgery in complex procedures such as radical prostatectomy through small surgical incisions.

Edouard Trabulsi, M.D., assistant professor of Urology, Jefferson, a urologic oncologist who is an expert trained in laparoscopic prostatectomy by one of the pioneers of the technique, and Costas Lallas, M.D., assistant professor of Urology, Jefferson, who completed a robotic surgery fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, will perform the procedure. Dr.Gomella will serve as the webcast’s narrator.
The American Cancer Society reports that one in six men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime. African-American men are at higher risk than other groups, as are those with family histories. For all men, the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. More than 75 percent of all prostate cancers occur in men over 65. Because of early detection and improved treatment, the survival rate for prostate cancer continues to rise. Most prostate cancer is now diagnosed while it is still confined to the prostate.

One treatment for prostate cancer is radical prostatectomy, the surgical removal of the entire prostate gland and surrounding tissue including the seminal vessels.

Laparoscopic prostatectomy is a less invasive procedure for a patient. The prostate is removed through several tiny incisions, including one in the navel. The laparoscope is passed though the navel, and other small incisions create portals for instruments. The laparoscope is outfitted with a camera that allows the surgeon to see on a video screen what he or she would not otherwise be able to see without a large, open incision.

Like traditional open prostatectomy, laparoscopic prostatectomy involves a reconstruction of the urinary tract. In the laparoscopic procedure, the surgeon approaches and removes the prostate above from the bladder and below from the urethra. Then he or she sews the bladder back to the urethra.

Under normal circumstances, the laparoscopic prostatectomy takes three or four hours. The laparoscopic procedure sometimes takes longer than traditional prostatectomy in the operating room, but in most cases, in the end, offers great advantages. It appears to be equally effective in treating cancer as the traditional surgery.

In the robotic prostatectomy, the laparoscopic approach is also used.

The robot cannot be programmed nor can it make decisions on its own. The system requires that every surgical maneuver be performed with direct input from a surgeon, Dr. Gomella noted. “The daVinci prostatectomy has been used successfully in thousands of prostate cancer procedures world-wide,” he said.

Dr. Gomella cautions that not all patients are candidates for robotic prostatectomy. “A consultation with the team at the GU oncology center allows the patient and his family to discuss all treatment options so they can determine which may be the best for that individual patient,” he said.

For more information about the daVinci prostatectomy procedure, to make an appointment with a Jefferson urologist or to visit Jefferson’s GU cancer center, log on to the Jefferson Hospital website or call 1-800-JEFF-NOW.

For physician referral information call 1-800-JEFF-NOW or click here.

Published: 11/05
Contact: Jeffrey Baxt or or Phyllis Fisher
Thomas Jefferson University
After Hours: 215/955-6060