Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: recovering from da vinci prostate surgery ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: recovering from da vinci prostate surgery
Category: Health > Men's Health
Asked by: flip47-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 22 Feb 2005 21:05 PST
Expires: 24 Mar 2005 21:05 PST
Question ID: 479132
people recovering from da vinci prostate surgery

Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 22 Feb 2005 21:24 PST
What is your question?

Clarification of Question by flip47-ga on 22 Feb 2005 21:39 PST
having the surgery done march 15th. heard one recovery story from
someone today. i would be interested in knowing about others, and how
their recovery went. pain,down-time things like that. the doctors told
me i could be back to work in 3 weeks. sometimes i have to lift
cameras and monitors. wondering if that is realistic. thanks
Subject: Re: recovering from da vinci prostate surgery
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 22 Feb 2005 23:59 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi flip47,

Thank you for a very interesting question.  

Please keep in mind that this answer is for information purposes only,
and is not intended to diagnose, treat or replace sound medical advice
from your physician or health care provider.

For most patients, da Vinci Prostate surgery offers numerous benefits
over an open surgery including:

Shorter hospital stay 
Less pain 
Less risk of infection 
Less blood loss and transfusions 
Less scarring 
Faster recovery 
Quicker return to normal activities 

As with any surgical procedure, these benefits cannot be guaranteed,
as surgery is both patient and procedure specific.

Shorter Recovery From Prostate Surgery
See video:

"Minneapolis (WCCO) Recovery from prostate surgery can be long and
painful, but it doesn't have to be.

Doctors are now using robots to help cancer patients bounce back.

When John Peters was diagnosed with prostate cancer doctors told him
he needed to have the organ surgically removed.

But the standard recovery is four to six weeks, and for John, that
wasn't an option. His wife has Alzheimer?s disease and requires
24-hour assistance.

Peters, 70-years-old said, ?I'm a full time caretaker and I just have
to take care of her and I said I cannot afford to have any surgery
done like that.?

That?s when Peters found New York Presbyterian?s Doctor Ash Tewari who
told him about a new minimally invasive technique that could get him
back on his feet in half the time.

Tewari said, ?Almost every patient can be back to doing normal things
within two to three weeks.?

During standard prostate surgery doctors have to make large cuts to
get inside the body.

However, this new procedure only needs tiny incisions because surgeons
get help from a robot.

Already used for some heart bypass operations the Da Vinci robot is
large, but at the end of each arm is a tiny instrument.

Using a machine that looks something like a video game, doctors get a
3-D view inside the body.

Surgeons then use joysticks and foot pedals to manipulate the
instruments, cutting out the prostate and removing it from the body.

Because the cuts are so small, patients can leave the hospital the next day.

Peters said, ?Someone said to me - ?When's your surgery?? - I said I
just had it the other day.?

John's recovery was faster than most. Within a week he was exercising
and, once again, caring for his wife."


Cutting-Edge Technology without the ?Cutting? Edge Cutting ...

Patient testimonials add to the achievements these physicians have made. 

When Mr. Woody James learned he had prostate cancer, these physicians
told him he had four options: carefully monitor the cancer without
surgery now, consider hormonal therapy, have radiation therapy, or
consider surgery and take advantage of new robotic technology.

?This is absolutely the way to go,? he decided after researching the
da Vinci Surgical System.

James recalls that after a hospital stay of less than 48 hours and
rapid recovery at home, he was back to walking his dog through the
Duke forest after about a week. That, say the Duke surgeons and nurses
who use the system, is why minimally invasive surgery ? and the da
Vinci robot in particular ? are so popular with patients.

Another patient, Mr. Brett Willett, also gives the procedure and the
Duke physicians high marks. ?When a patient has a disease like cancer,
it?s not just the patient who is affected; the entire family faces
challenges. Having a minimally invasive procedure like this, which
makes healing and the whole process easier, not only impacts the
patient in a positive way, but also all those undergoing the pressures
surrounding this diagnosis.?

Mr. Willett, with his wife?s assistance, educated himself on all the
treatments available. ?There are some fairly major issues associated
with prostate surgery, erectile dysfunction and urinary control.

Speaking for myself, things have gone very well in both of those
categories, something I?m not sure would have occurred had I undergone
a more invasive procedure.?

About the robotics, Mr. Willett admits that he was definitely
interested in learning more. ?When you think about the ?robot,? you
first think of R2D2! This is completely different. You might also
associate this robotic technique with cardiac care, and you wonder if
it can be used in another field. But the technique has been
appropriately applied to curing prostate cancer.

?In my situation, for example, they saw something during the
operationthat they were able to take care of. Using a different
technique, they may not have observed the unusual tissue, and may not
have been able to remove it so readily.?

Mr. Willett is extremely pleased and candid about his positive experience.

?After I had the surgery, I showed my scars to other old guys like
myself, and I?ve seen some of the major scarring that is involved with
traditional surgeries. I can only imagine how long it took for that
kind of major incision to heal.

?Having considered all my options, including traveling to Johns
Hopkins in Baltimore to undergo the procedure, I am positive that I
opted for the best place on the planet for my care. I am very positive
about this procedure and the care I received from Dr. Albala and the
team at Duke University.?


Robotic Surgery Helped DeWaine Silker Beat Prostate Cancer

""Dr. Gettman detailed all of the possible treatments," Silker
remembers. "I had done my research and knew about the daVinci robotics
system to treat prostate cancer that Dr. Gettman mentioned." Silker
was not comfortable with some of the other treatments that were
available and liked the idea that recovery from robotic surgery might
be easier than recovery from traditional surgery. Silker had robotic
surgery to remove his prostrate gland in mid-March."


"Silker's recovery from the radical prostatectomy went as smoothly as
he'd hoped. Recovering in the hospital, "the nurses would regularly
ask me how much pain I was experiencing on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10
being the most uncomfortable. And each time I would honestly have to
tell them, 'Negative two.'" When Silker left the hospital he gave his
nurse a big hug. "I had total confidence in the care that I received
at Mayo Clinic. The daVinci robotics procedure is fairly new for the
treatment of prostate cancer, but I had utmost faith in Dr. Gettman
and his team. I would recommend robotic surgery at Mayo Clinic without
hesitation to other men who suffer from prostate cancer.""

Silker has nothing but praise for the surgical team and the robotic
device that helped make his surgery such a success. New treatments and
techniques, as well as a greater focus on men's health issues, often
mean better outcomes for patients. For Silker, that meant getting out
of the hospital quickly and back to his home, his garden, his
grandkids, and the life he loves.


Patient Stories

Ralph Piccola - Florida
Age 68 - 3 Months Post da Vinci Prostatectomy (dVP) 

Operative Parameters - Operative Time: 128 minutes 
Estimated Blood Loss: < 50 cc 
Transfusion: None 

Post Operative Parameters

Length of Hospitalization: 1 day 
Catheter Duration: 6 days 
Return of Urinary Control (No Pads): Immediately following catheter removal 
Return of Sexual Function: Less than 4 weeks 
Recovery/Return to Work and Golf: 4 weeks

"My urologist, Dr. Fouad Shami, noticed that my PSA had risen from
2.67 in June 2002, to 4.18 in December 2003. I could not understand
his concern when he ordered an ultrasound and a biopsy. My PSA was in
the low and normal range and only rose 1.51 points in a year and a
half. In any case, I was still optimistic that all would be fine.

However, before I received the results of the biopsy, I decided to
consult another urologist for a DRE and consultation. Upon a referral
from a friend, I made an appointment with Dr. Ira Klimberg at the
Urology Center of Florida in Ocala. He confirmed that my prostate was
a little larger than normal and that he and other urologists are now
concerned with any PSA over 2.50, and like to watch any rate of
increase. So I anxiously awaited the biopsy report.

While in Dr. Klimberg's office we picked up all the brochures we
could, to understand my options, should my biopsy come back positive
for cancer. That is when we discovered information about the da Vinci
Prostatectomy (dVP) offered by the Urology Center of Florida, and
locally perfected by Dr. D. Russell Locke.

The following week I found out that my biopsy showed cancer. Dr. Shami
ordered a CAT scan and Bone Scan, which ultimately showed that my
cancer was indeed confined to my prostate. On Jan 19th he discussed
with me all my options for treatment except the dVP procedure. When I
showed him the brochure I had picked up about the dVP he helped me
arrange an appointment with Dr. Locke for a second opinion. We met
with him on January 22. Dr Locke verified his experience with this
operation, explained the advantages and referred me to two prior
surgical patients. My wife and I were completely convinced that the
dVP surgical procedure was the treatment option for me. Five days
later, on January 27th I had the operation.

The advantages of the dVP procedure over the open radical
prostatectomy were completely verified. I had hardly any pain, I was
released from the hospital the day after surgery, and I did not have
any complications. My catheter was removed 6 days later and caused me
little discomfort. Because the procedure presents the surgeon with
3-dimensional and magnified views, Dr. Locke was able to save the
nerves responsible for continence and male potency. This was my
greatest fear because all the literature indicates that incontinence
and impotency are to be expected from most prostate cancer treatments.
Since I did not have any erectile dysfunction before the surgery, I
was especially appreciative to Dr. Locke and his surgical team for
their skills. Blood loss from the surgery was less than a shot-glass.
I had no pain, discomfort, or post-surgical infection. When the
catheter was painlessly removed the following week, I did not have any
urinary leakage. Although I was prepared for this, I had no need for
any pads.

I felt that I could do normal activities, play golf and teach school
within a couple of weeks. However, under doctor's orders, I needed to
consider the fact that although the procedure was less invasive, the
same surgery was performed inside my body. I therefore waited 4 weeks
before I resumed working as a substitute teacher and playing golf.

In summary, I couldn't be happier with the decision to have the dVP
procedure. My PSA is now 0.04. This is the lowest point of
measurement. Regular urinary function resumed after the catheter was
removed. With the help of Viagra, I have no problem with sexual
function. The only scarring I have is a one-inch scar at my naval and
five tiny scars in my abdomen. They are now hardly noticeable. During
the past 3 months after my operation, I am physically active and just
celebrated my 69th birthday on May 6, 2004."


Welcome to the O.R. of the future By Cathy Nelson


"Continence used to take a year. Now it's coming back in days," Menon
said. "Sexual function also comes back faster, especially in patients
with less aggressive forms of cancer."

That was good news to Jim Toy, 55, a Lansing resident who was
diagnosed with prostate cancer in summer 2004.

"My urologist recommended (traditional) surgery and said I could get
it done quickly," said Toy, a retired computer software engineer. "I
expressed a desire to maintain continence and be able to perform
sexually. My doctor said he could only offer me a 50/50 chance of

Not liking those odds, Toy and his wife, Linda, began looking for
other options. They read and surfed the Internet. But, it was Toy's
family doctor who first mentioned Menon and the robotic procedure.

"He said 'This is really something you should look into, with the
goals you have and your age,'" Toy said.

Toy and his wife continued their research and decided to make a visit
to Henry Ford to meet Menon. It didn't take long to convince them this
was the way to go.

"One doctor told me 'I don't care what way you do it, you still have a
50/50 chance (of no side effects).' Dr. Menon offered statistics that
were so much better," said Toy.

On Sept. 24, 2004, Toy underwent the procedure. He was released from
the hospital the next day. Although he did have to stop overnight at
his daughter's house in Royal Oak after experiencing discomfort on the
way home to Lansing, Toy said he is very happy with the results.

"I would say I'm probably living the expectations ... I'm feeling
better all the time," Toy said. His prostate specific antigen score, ?
a way of detecting the presence of prostate cancer ? is now 0, meaning
he is considered cancer-free.

Toy's experience is similar to that of John Morad, 66, who underwent a
robotic prostatectomy at Henry Ford on Jan. 7, 2003. A busy attorney
with a Beverly Hills practice, Morad did not want to spend a lot of
time recovering. Today, he's glad he decided on the procedure.

"I felt good the whole time," said Morad, who has four children,
including a daughter in Royal Oak, and one grandson. "I felt good the
day I got home from the hospital. I was back at work in six days and
that was only because I came home over the weekend."

He also had his own personal gauge of recovery. "I did sneak in a
swing with a sand wedge and that's when I knew it was OK."

Morad, who is now cancer-free, was so happy with his surgery, he
worked on a commercial (where much to his chagrin he was portrayed by
an actor) and marketing videos for the hospital.

However, one experience does worry him. Morad, like Toy, was not given
the robotic procedure as an option by his urologist. Instead Morad
learned of the surgery from a friend."


"We're really blessed that we have this here," Morad said.


"While all this is exciting, for Morad, as for so many other men, his
good health was the true test of success.

"If I had to do it again, I'd do the same thing," Morad said. "That's
the highest recommendation I can give.""

Former state leader leading campaign against prostate cancer

"...John Gregg, who stepped down after a six-year ride as Indiana
Speaker of the House."


Forty-nine and without symptoms, at diagnosis Gregg opted for a
high-tech robotic surgery with Dr. John Scott at Methodist Hospital.

"John had the Da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy," says Dr. Scott. "this
is a laproscopic surgical procedure where we used telescopes instead
of making an incision to remove the prostate."

The procedure offers less pain, scarring and blood loss along with
improved sexual function and bladder control and a quicker recovery.

Despite the superior results, today 90 percent of prostate patients
nationwide still have the traditional open procedure.

Dr. Scott thinks, "the down side is not everybody knows about, its not
readily available."


A description of the surgical procedure can be found at the following
site:  Robot puts Utahn on cutting edge in prostate surgery,1249,600100523,00.html

"In typical radical prostatectomies, an incision is made from the
navel to the public bone. But robotic surgery requires only six
puncture wounds in the abdominal area."


"... measure the exact spots where these puncture wounds will be
placed on the abdomen of the 70-year-old man sedated on the operating
table. The six spots form a triangle that must line up exactly with
the arms of the robot that will soon be positioned overhead.

The six puncture wounds serve as ports for the robot's arms and eyes.
A camera is inserted in the hole above the navel; the other holes
provide access for the miniaturized, finely articulated electric
knife, cauterizing tool and telescope that are threaded down into the
patient's body.

While the nurses position the instruments, Jensen sits at a console
across the room. He takes off his shoes, then positions his head and
gloveless hands into the machine. Unlike laparoscopic surgery, which
provides only a two-dimensional view, the da Vinci is 3-D, and all
movements are made just as they would be if he actually had his hands
in the patient's body. (Laparoscopy requires a reverse,
counter-intuitive manipulation of the instruments.)

Moving his hands inside the console, Jensen begins his remote-control
slicing into the patient's abdomen, through each thin layer of tissue,
blood vessels and fat, deeper and deeper, heading for the walnut-sized

"The blood loss is less because you can see the fine blood vessels so
much better," Jensen explains. "I can see millimeters. I can see
nerves. I can see the things I couldn't see with standard surgery."
And he's able to do things not possible with standard surgery: use a
needle and suture a third the size of normal, tie knots faster and
better, position staples he couldn't otherwise, he says.
Robotic surgery, he reports, reduces the hospital stay from two days
to one; reduces acute recovery from two weeks to three days, and
chronic recovery from four weeks to two weeks. Fifty percent of men
having robotic surgery are "pad free" within one month, compared to
six months with conventional surgery. And 50 percent have erectile
function within six months, compared to one year for conventional
The most-asked question by men about to have their prostates removed,
though, is, "When will I be able to golf again?" Jensen reports.

"Chip and putt in four days, drive in two weeks." Driving straight,
though, that's different, he says."

keyword search:

Da Vinci Robotic surgery patient recovery stories + testimonials
da vinci prostate recovery stories + statements
Robotic Surgery benefits prostate surgical procedure


Best regards and much good luck to you,
flip47-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $20.00
thanks. information very helpful.

Subject: Re: recovering from da vinci prostate surgery
From: tlspiegel-ga on 23 Feb 2005 20:28 PST
Hi flip47
Thank for the 5 star rating, comments and oh my goodness - thank you
so much for the generous tip!  :)  I really appreciate it.

I'll be sending good wishes to you on March 15th.  

Best regards,
Subject: recovering from da vinci prostate surgery
From: satxru2-ga on 04 Jul 2005 20:51 PDT
I had a psa reading of 2.4 when a biopsy revealed cancer.  On June 1,
2005 Dr. Naveen Kella performed the da vinci robotics prostrate
surgery.  I had a minimual amount of blood loss.  No pain. I stayed
overnight at hospital.

Actually the biggest headache was having the catheder on for one week
as it is not easy to manuver as you recover at home.   Another
headache was a small problem confined to uncircumsized men and the
excess foreskin while the cathether was in.  I used a pad due to
incontinence for six days instead of the six months others had
reported to me.

It is too early to report any erectile problems as it is considered
normal for the first couple of months to report the lack of erections.
 I am on half of a viagra tablet twice weekly.  I do have morning
psuedo erections because I need to urinate so I am hoping that is a
plus sign for future erections.

I returned to the gym 3 weeks after surgery but cautiously confining
myself to threadmill and light weights.  I have done edging on lawn
and will mow lawn in a week or so.

Psychologically, I feel great.  Dr. Naveen Kella has super bed side
manners.  Very professional man and I  would choose him again and
recommend him highly to anyone in San Antonio area.  I truely believe
the da vinci method is the only option for prostrate surgery.  I would
be glad to chat with anyone who has more questions regarding this

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy