If you choose to have a laparoscopic prostatectomy, your surgeon will operate with the help of a robot. Our surgeons—UW Medicine surgeons who treat Seattle Cancer Care Alliance patients—use one of two types of robot when performing laparoscopic prostatectomies.
Your surgeon will remove your prostate gland through several very small incisions, using special cameras and instruments, including either the da Vinci robot or AESOP, a voice-activated robot that holds the laparoscope for the surgeon. University of Washington Medical Center is the only medical center in the Northwest, and one of the few in the country, that offers both robotic prostatectomy using the da Vinci surgical system and conventional laparoscopic prostatectomy using AESOP.
With the da Vinci robot, the surgeon sits at a console near the patient and uses joysticks and foot pedals to control the robot, which actually performs the surgery. One robot arm holds the camera, while two more hold the surgical instruments. It gives the surgeon a true three-dimensional view while operating laparoscopically.
Your surgeon may use an AESOP robot when performing your laparoscopic prostatectomy. AESOP stands for Automated Endoscopic System for Optimal Positioning. AESOP is a voice-activated mechanical arm used by your surgeon to position and hold the laparoscope (telescope), leaving the doctor’s hands free to perform surgery through several small incisions. The robotic arm is able to move the laparoscope in precise increments with a steadier view than can be provided by a human holding the scope because AESOP never becomes tired.
Both robots are made by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., based in Sunnyvale, California. Images courtesy of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.