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Live Robotic Prostate Surgery Links Rochester, N.Y., London

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Jean Joseph, M.D.

Urologists at Strong Memorial Hospital will open up an operating room to allow people to observe one of the most advanced surgical procedures to treat prostate cancer.

A free, live laparoscopic robotic prostatectomy using the daVinci Surgical System will be broadcast from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, in the Class of ‘62 Auditorium at the University of Rochester Medical Center. 

The Prostate Health Awareness event includes opportunities for participants to speak with surgeons and prostate cancer survivors during the procedure.

The surgery will be simulcast live to the University College London Hospitals, London, England, for an interactive debate and viewing by doctors involved in the field of prostate cancer, making this a truly international event.

Jean Joseph, M.D., M.B.A., head of the section of laparoscopic and robotic urologic surgery and one of the top 10 most experienced laparascopic surgeons in the country, will perform the surgery.  Hiten Patel, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.S. (urology) , F.R.C.S., (Eng. Hon.),  an international expert in the field from the Section of Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery at University College London Hospitals in England, will moderate the session to answer questions about the robotic technology that is quickly becoming the gold standard in treating prostate cancer.

Five men who have had the robotic surgery to treat their prostate cancer will also share their experience with participants.

Following a free lunch, a panel of urologists and oncologists will answer attendees’ questions about prostate cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survival from 1 to 2 p.m.  Panelists include surgeons Joseph and Patel, urologists Edward Messing, M.D., chair of Urology, and Robert Davis, M.D., and oncologists Deepak Sahasrabudhe, M.D., and Manish Kohli, M.D., of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center.

The event is free and registration is required by Sept. 14.  Call (585) 275-2838 or go to or

Free Screenings

Additionally, University Urology Associates will offer free prostate cancer screenings for men who have not been screened recently.  They will be from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 21 and 22.

The Sept. 21 screening will be held at St. Joseph Neighborhood Center, 417 South Ave., and the Sept. 22 screening will be at University Urology offices in Clinton Crossings, near South Clinton Avenue and Westfall Road.  Registration is required.  Call 275-2838.

Leaders in Robotic Surgery

More than 230,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 30,000 men die from it each year. Although prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among American men, it is nearly always curable if it’s caught early.

There are a variety of treatments for prostate cancer, ranging from “watchful waiting” to surgical removal of the entire prostate gland. Treatment options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone treatment, surgery or active monitoring – which is often chosen by older men or those who suffer from other life-threatening conditions. In these cases, the cancer may be growing so slowly that it's not likely to be fatal.

In recent years, men who undergo surgery often choose high-precision robotic surgery using the daVinci Robotic Surgical System, a technology that Strong was the first in Upstate New York to offer in early 2003. The system consists of a robotic arm that performs surgeries using movement that replicate the surgeon’s motions. The surgeon controls the movements from a console across the room that allows him to see enhanced detail in the surgical field with virtual 3-D images provided by a laparoscopic camera.

“This system gives the appearance of being inside the patient,” says Joseph. “The 3-D view provides a depth perception that is missing in traditional laparoscopic surgery, bringing us closer to the surgical site as we can get. In fact, the magnified 3-D view enhances the images, helping to improve accuracy and precision.”

The benefits of the robotic technology have a significant impact on patients and their outcomes. Because the cases are done laparoscopically, dime-sized incisions are made that result in faster recovery time and a lower chance of infection or other complications such as incontinence and impotence. The procedures themselves can be even more accurate than traditional surgery, with steadier “hands” at the surgical site being directed by a surgeon.

The robotic system also enhances the accuracy of delicate maneuvers such as repetitive stitching and suturing. “It’s almost like comparing a sewing machine to hand stitching,” says Joseph.

Currently, Joseph is performing seven robotic surgeries each week at Strong Memorial Hospital.

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Media Contact

Leslie White

(585) 273-1119

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