Robotic Prostatectomy Complications

Robotic Prostatectomy Complications

The robotic prostatectomy (like the conventional radical prostatectomy) is associated with a shocking number of complications. Instead of if you will have a complication the usual scenario is how many complications will you suffer, how many will require corrective surgery along with additional costs and time off work and, to what degree will you be reminded about these after­ effects for the rest of your life. In fact, no other surgery is so long on complications, hype and false promises. Particularly, as it relates to to manhood, conjugal rights, partnership, leaking urine and postoperative quality of life. All for no scientifically proven benefit.

Shamefully, many men will have already sustained a septic episode or bleeding after their risky prostate needle biopsy while those men diagnosed with the noncancerous behaving Gleason 3+3=6 will be “treated” for a disease which lacks the hallmarks of a cancer.

An even more unfathomable travesty concerns the few men who will be bulldozed into having their prostate removed, where the final pathology shows no evidence of prostate cancer and then lied to by their surgeons as to how their lives were saved.

Aside from the operative complications which are common to all surgeries, the following list details the additional complications specific to the robotic prostatectomy. A very grave concern already recognised by the USPSTF and who have deemed that the radical prostatectomy fails to save significant numbers of lives and that its harms outweigh any benefits. Furthermore, the many complications resulting from this robotic prostatectomy “treatment” are underscored by the great number of legal actions against urologists and the robot maker.

Complications with Robotic Prostatectomy

Sexual Complications

  1. Erectile dysfunction/impotence or limp penis of varying degrees. Life­long in most cases. (despite the so­called nerve­sparing technique and penile rehabilitation)
  2. Lack of emission
  3. Absent or diminished orgasm
  4. Pain on orgasm, sometimes severe (if lucky enough to retain an orgasm of some degree, possible with soft penis)
  5. Lack of ejaculate or, not uncommonly, ejaculating urine (possible with soft penis)
  6. Infertility
  7. Diminished libido because of loss of manhood

Urethral Complications

  1. Urethral stricture

Mental Health Complications

  1. Negative quality of life impacts
  2. Depression or suicidal thoughts
  3. Divorce

Penile Complications

  1. Penile shortening
  2. Penile Pain
  3. Penile Numbness
  4. Penile bending or curvature
  5. Penile atrophy

Testicular Complications

  1. Testicular pain or orchitis

Bladder Complications

  1. Incontinence or leaking urine of varying degrees. Life­long in many cases. (? cost of diapers)
  2. Bladder neck contracture/scarring
  3. Difficulty urinating
  4. Clip migration
  5. Bladder stones
  6. Urinary Tract Infections

Other Operative Complications

1. Trochar complications causing bleeding or bowel perforation
2. Severe hemorrhage requiring transfusions
3. Conversion to open radical prostatectomy
4. Insufflation embolism
5. Death
6. Rectal injury and recto­urethral fistula
7. Bladder injury
8. Reteral injury/hydronephrosis
9. Urinoma
10. Lymphocele
11. Obturator nerve damage
12. Pressure point injuries (nerves/muscles) from positioning on operating table
13. Visual disturbances secondary to positioning on operating table
14. Hernia
15. Wound infection
16. Diastasis recti
17. Osteitis pubis
18. Retention of foreign body
19. Residual cancer after attempting to remove high­grade cancer
20. Spread of cancer cells because of surgical manipulation

Most men, their wives and partners (and physicians) are unaware that the robotic prostatectomy was FDA “approved” on the basis of a small irrelevant and immaterial gallbladder study only. In addition, men are highly unlikely to receive a detailed informed consent regarding robotics for their particular prostate cancer and that the Gleason 3+3=6 disease lacks the hallmarks of a cancer. Instead, men are likely to be subjected to fear­mongering, exploitation and left with the impression that some minor temporary complications are remotely possible after their robotic prostatectomy but that these will pass, you will be back to your old self in no time and your life will be saved. This appalling deception, easily advantaged by the healthcare industry because of the good faith extended to it by the medically illiterate public, is played out every day. Gone is the physician principle; “first, do no harm”.

Darryl Baillie’s Experience

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Darryl Baillie’s experience with the robotic prostatectomy is NOT uncommon

“Just over 3 years ago at the age of 54, I made worst health decision I have ever made. I was deceived by my surgeon and railroaded into choosing the expensive and overrated robotic prostatectomy for my low­risk prostate cancer.
I sustained nearly all of the complications that are knowingly associated with this terrible operation despite my surgeon being listed as a so­called “approved” Da Vinci surgeon.

The complications to date have been:
· Urinary tract damage, obviously caused by bad catheterisation technique.
· Urinary tract infection,
· bladder infection,
· kidney infection,
· torn hip ligaments and pudendal nerve damage, caused by hanging head down at 25 degrees for an extended period and no doubt being poorly supported. I didn’t sign off on this information either!
· incisional hernia above my naval, my incision above my navel was 55 mm long. What ever happened to the 12 mm scars? AND I have 7 scars what about the advertised 5 scars?? Didn’t see this one coming!
· A continually rising PSA from <.01 post surgery increasing by .01 with all but 2 tests.

No credible explanation has been offered for this one. My second Urologist says micrometastatic cancer…. My third Urologist says, likely prostate tissue left behind, regrowing causing a PSA rise. I guess that means I am normal as over half the other robotic patients I know have it as well??
· And the latest complication from da Vinci robotic surgery, surgical clips migrating into my bladder. I am now recovering from yet another procedure in Oct 13 where one of the surgical clips had to be surgically removed. Not sure what we’ll do about the other clip that is bulging the bladder wall. Another one of the many complications I was not told about! How many clips are used you ask…. I have been informed 24 clips have been used and I paid for 24, one has to ask the question… what are the other 22 clips doing??

My urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction issues continue to be a major problem and I was warned about these complications and my results are very poor but as I understand from talking to many patients, very normal for prostate surgery.

My extreme disappointment with my surgical treatment and results were made much worse by all of the lies and deceit which I had been exposed to prior to, and after my surgery. Whilst struggling to overcome the many nasty surprises from this treatment, I began some research regarding the real postoperative course seen after radical prostate surgery as I believed I could not be the only sufferer.

Subsequently, I came across Dr. Bert Vorstman‘s (US Urologist in Florida) site with his prostate cancer articles and blogs, www.urologyweb.com In fact, his latest blog, “10 shocking fallacies and the prostate cancer surgery scam” accurately nails all of the real bad, but very common, risks concerning this radical/robotic prostatectomy. I know as I sustained a bunch of them. Many of the victims of this surgery will identify with this article very easily.

In addition, there are several other sites I came across in my research such as the US preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) paper on prostate cancer screening expressing the many grave concerns about PSA screening as well as the treatment methods for screen detected prostate cancer and the insignificant numbers of lives saved. Finding many US, class­ action lawsuits involving robotic prostatectomy was a real eye opener also. If prostate cancer surgery is that good (as the advertising suggests) why are there class action law suits? I know the robot is just a tool, but you as a patient would expect a better job with a specially designed tool with an already competent surgeon driving it?? If it is that hard for a specialist to work with it and produce a better job than by hand, then, is it the right tool for the job??

Unfortunately, there is absolutely no doubt that I was intentionally deceived by my physicians about the da Vinci robotic prostatectomy. Dr Vorstman’s reminders of the surgeon’s “embellished perceived benefits” ring loud and clear in my ears when I remember the “sell” used by my surgeon. If I had only done my research before letting me have a doctor steer me towards a scientifically unproven treatment, I would not be in the predicament I am in today.

I will never, ever advise any man to undergo a radical surgical/robotic prostatectomy, whether for low-­risk or high­-risk prostate cancer. All men really need to do their homework before jumping into this mutilating treatment.
This robotic prostatectomy surgery is far from being the “gold­-standard” of prostate cancer treatment. The many complications associated with this treatment are for the most part, life­ long. Not only is this surgery very high-­risk but, I have since learned that there are no significant life-­saving benefits from this treatment. So why do urologists push such a treatment?
I will be reminded of my bad “choice” every day for the rest of my life and … I am sure fellow victims, know I am speaking from first hand experience.”