Robotic Surgery after Radiation Therapy: It is Possible

Many men have various concerns regarding prostate cancer surgery. I know there’s another segment of the population though who are also concerned about whether surgery is an option – men who have had ineffective radiation treatment for prostate cancer in the past.


Is it possible to have radiation therapy after prostate surgery?

Is it possible to have radiation therapy after prostate surgery?

Men are commonly told that it’s possible to be treated with radiation after surgery if needed, but that surgery after radiation is not an option.  The reason why this is said is because radiation treatment does damage to the tissue around the pelvic area, making post-radiation surgery a more complicated procedure with increased risk of damaging the bladder and rectum.

However, more complicated does not mean that it’s not an option.  Earlier this month I successfully performed a post-radiation robotic prostate removal procedure on Jan des Bouvrie, a renowned Dutch interior designer.  It’s known as a “Salvage Robotic Prostatectomy”.  It’s not a very common procedure, and few surgeons can successfully perform it due to the experience needed with the da Vinci robot, but the option does exist.

In Jan’s case he received radiation therapy after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Five years later, his cancer returned.  Like anyone would do he continued to research the treatment options available to him to cure his cancer.  Ultimately he decided he wanted to have his prostate, along with the cancer, removed entirely through surgery despite the risks he had read about.  Jan’s research led him to me based on my experience with the da Vinci robot, the salvage robotic prostatectomy procedure, and over 3,300 successful robotic prostatectomy procedures in total.  I’m happy to say that Jan is doing well back home in Netherlands with no signs of prostate cancer.

I hope that the information here has put some more minds at ease.  It’s important for men to know all of the options that are available to them when making decisions on their health.  While a salvage robotic prostatectomy does carry more risks with it than a normal robotic prostatectomy, the option is there.  With an experienced surgeon, those additional risks can be minimized.  I often suggest that men who have prostate cancer spend just as much time researching their doctors as they do their treatment options.  Especially in cases like these, it’s important to find a surgeon who is knowledgeable and experienced in performing the task at hand.