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A new type of prostate cancer surgery begins in the bladder

Surgeons are performing a first-of-its-kind surgery – safely removing cancer in the prostate through the bladder.

CLEVELAND — This year, 269,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. If the cancer is slow-growing, some men won't immediate treatment, but others will need surgery to remove all or part of the cancerous gland. Now, surgeons are performing a first-of-its-kind surgery – safely removing the cancerous prostate through the bladder.

For many men facing prostate cancer surgery, a robotic removal of the cancer is their best chance for a cure. But now, instead of making five tiny incisions to insert the tools needed to excise the cancer, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic say they can remove the prostate through one small opening.

“A single port robot was introduced. A new generation of robots that have one cannula, so, one cut. Through that, comes all the instruments and camera,” Dr. Jihad Kaouk, MD, FACS explained.

It’s called single port, robot-assisted radical prostatectomy. The robotic arm can rotate 360 degrees, meaning surgeons need a smaller space to work.

“We don't go through the belly anymore to get to the prostate," Dr. Kaouk added. "We go through the bladder where the prostate will be just there, and we do the surgery from inside the bladder.”

The transvesical approach can be done as an outpatient procedure. Patients have less pain and a quicker recovery and are often discharged just four hours after surgery.

Dr. Kaouk said this single-port approach through the bladder is a great option for patients whose cancer has not spread out of the prostate. 

The Cleveland Clinic team has performed this procedure on more than 130 patients and sid they’ve found an additional benefit. While incontinence is a common side effect of prostate cancer surgery, patients can have better urine control after this approach.

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