Robotic prostate surgery better for erectile function

A new study from Australia suggests that robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is more effective at preserving erectile function and urinary continence than a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy for treating localized prostate cancer. The study was recently published as a meta-analysis in Urologia Internationalis.


The study was conducted by researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. It involved two randomized controlled trials and included a total of 232 patients in which each of their surgical approaches were compared. Neither of the studies looked at prostate cancer specific or all-cause mortality. Compared with patients who underwent a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, patients who underwent a robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy were 51 percent more likely to gain back their erectile function and 14 percent more likely to gain back their urinary continence.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. It starts in the prostate gland, which is a small walnut-shaped gland that is responsible for the production of seminal fluid. Prostate cancer is often a slow growing disease, but in some cases and depending on certain risk factors, it can be an aggressive disease and spread rather quickly. When prostate cancer is identified early and is still confined to the prostate gland, the cure rate is very high.

Key statistics:

·         It is estimated that in 2015 in the United States, there will be about 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer and about 27,540 deaths from prostate cancer.

·         About 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

·         About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.

·         About 1 in 38 men will die of prostate cancer.

Risk factors for prostate cancer:

·         Age: After 50, the risk for prostate cancer greatly increases. However, men as young as 40 can get prostate cancer, and it is often more aggressive. Men should begin screening for prostate cancer at age 40.

·         Race: African-American men have the highest risk for prostate cancer; they are more likely to have aggressive cancer, be diagnosed at an advanced stage, and die from the disease. African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer compared with Caucasian men and are nearly 2.4 times as likely to die from the disease.

·         Family history: Men who have had a brother or father with prostate cancer are twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

·         Diet: A diet high in fat or being obese may increase your risk for prostate cancer.