Surgical Options for Treating Prostate Cancer

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Surgery is one of two main treatments for prostate cancer (radiation is the other).

Surgery is generally done to remove the prostate, as well as to remove lymph nodes in the area to see whether the cancer has spread. Surgery may also be performed to fix urinary problems that are caused by a tumor pressing on the urethra.

A surgery called radical prostatectomy is used to remove the prostate, as well as any nearby tissue that may contain cancer cells. There are two basic types of this surgery: open and minimally invasive.

  • Radical retro-pubic prostatectomy: The prostate and any nearby tissue that may contain cancer are removed via a lower abdominal incision. 
  • Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy:  A minimally invasive technique, very small incisions and special lighting and surgical instruments are used instead of a larger incision. 
  • Robotic radical prostatectomy: A minimally invasive technique that is a specialty of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, an advanced robotic surgical platform called the da Vinci Surgical System is used. This cutting-edge technology allows a surgeon to use advanced imaging and computer-enhanced robotics to operate with extraordinary precision.

Robotic radical prostatectomy has been shown to have equal cancer control as conventional radical prostatectomy. However, robotic radical prostatectomy is associated with less blood loss, lower risk of blood transfusions, less pain, and a quicker return to full activity than in conventional open radical prostatectomy.

UC San Diego Health is a national leader in surgical robotics and, specifically, in robotic radical prostatectomy. Please feel free to contact us for more information about this procedure.


Prostate Cancer Surgery

Dr. Christopher Kane explains radical prostatectomy, including open and robotic minimally invasive approaches. He also discusses risks, including impact on urinary and erection control, and explains sequencing treatment. (11min. 33sec.).
Watch more videos about prostate cancer and treatment options.