Robot surgery may sound highly futuristic, but the procedure is being increasingly used to treat prostate cancer with decent results.
However, robot surgery for prostate cancer was recently stacked against standard surgery in a new study, and research found the former is still not displaying clear benefits over the more traditional alternative.
Researchers on the comparison study of robot surgery reviewed data on nearly 30,000 men collected between 2006 and 2008 and determined that the cost benefit ratio of the procedure compared to the standard surgery, known as a radical prostatectomy, did not yet show a compelling reason to opt for the more expensive procedure.
More than 20,000 of the men had robot surgery, and more than 9,000 underwent a radical prostatectomy. The additional cost of a few thousand dollars for the robot surgery is a significant factor, researchers say, and Dr. Paul Nyugen, who treats prostate cancer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, commented on the findings:
“We don’t really have that high-level evidence … that can tell us that one is better than the other, or how one is different than the other … If it’s not better, or not better enough, it may not be worth it.”
Dr. Nyugen was not directly involved in the robot surgery research. Among benefits listed for the robot surgery were shorter hospital stays, at two days for a standard prostatectomy versus one for robot surgery. Complications were also found to be at 11 percent for old fashioned surgery versus eight percent following the newer robot surgery to treat prostate cancer.