Hospitals and surgeons love new procedures with high-tech names â€“ not because they’re better, but because they can charge bigger bucks for them.
The latest technique for prostate cancer is called laparoscopic surgery, but it’s often marketed as robot-assisted “keyhole” surgery.
All I can say is keep your robot out of my keyhole, because the latest research finds that this new and not-so-improved technique has a higher risk of side effects than traditional prostate surgeries.
And remember, in most cases you don’t need surgery at all – whether it’s performed by a man or machine, through a keyhole or by bashing open the whole door. Prostate cancer is an over-diagnosed disease that won’t kill most of the people who get it, but treating it comes with the risk of conditions such as incontinence and impotence.
A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that patients who undergo the robo-surgery are more than twice as likely to experience those side effects.
It also found that patients who undergo the surgery are out of hospital a day earlier and have a lower risk of needing a blood transfusion – but I’d rather have my sex life and control of my bladder, thank you very much.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone practicing new techniques on me or my prostate. Even if you are in the small minority of patients who absolutely need surgery for prostate cancer, insist on only the most tried-and-true technique and the most experienced surgeon… not a brand-new procedure where the doc may need to stop and check the instruction manual halfway through.
But before you even consider that, insist on knowing the absolute truth about your condition – and whether or not you really need to face the risk of surgery in the first place.
You probably don’t.