Urology is the branch of medicine that treats diseases of the male and female urinary tract system (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra) and the male reproductive organs. United Regional provides general urology services and the treatment of complex urological conditions, including a urodynamics lab for testing and diagnosis of urinary conditions.
Some common urologic conditions include:
- prostate cancer
- bladder cancer
- kidney cancer
- bladder prolapse
- kidney and ureteral stones
- hematuria (blood in the urine)
- interstitial cystitis (also called painful bladder syndrome)
- overactive bladder
- prostatitis (swelling of the prostate gland)
Because it is minimally invasive, the precision of robotic technology is ideal for delicate and complex urologic surgeries. This technology allows a three-dimensional view of the operative field and a much wider range of motion of the surgical instruments, allowing the surgeon to perform precise techniques required for these extremely delicate and precise procedures.
Compared to traditional (open) surgery, robotic surgery results in:
- Less blood loss
- Less pain
- A shorter hospital stay, and a
- Faster recovery time.
John Howell is a cancer survivor. Both his father and grandfather had prostate cancer, almost identical to his own. However, thanks to the skills of talented surgeons and advanced technology, John’s experience was much different.
Barbara Moreau is a kidney cancer survivor. While visiting with her doctor for an unrelated issue, a lump on Barbara’s kidney was discovered that looked concerning for cancer. After running additional tests Barbara met with Dr. Benson to discuss all available options; ultimately it was decided to proceed with surgery. If it were not for the robotic surgery and the quick observations and actions of caring physicians, Barbara may not be here with us today.
Some of the procedures performed robotically include:
Partial Nephrectomy (partial kidney removal)
This procedure provides patients with a safe and effective way to remove a small renal tumor while preserving the remainder of the kidney. The robot offers two main advantages over conventional laparoscopy. First, the binocular camera allows the surgeon depth perception to easily operate in 3 dimensions. Second, the “wrist” of the robotic arms has 7 degrees of freedom, which allow the surgeon better control over certain aspects of the operation, most importantly precise suturing with minimal tissue manipulation. This is a minimally invasive technique, which provides patients with less discomfort and equivalent results when compared to the traditional open surgery.
Radical Nephrectomy (complete kidney removal)
For some patients with kidney cancer or a benign kidney tumor, a partial nephrectomy may not be possible due to the tumor’s size or location. In these cases, a different type of robotic kidney surgery known as a robotic radical nephrectomy may be performed, in which the entire kidney is removed. This minimally-invasive procedure offers patients many of the same advantages as a robotic partial nephrectomy, including less trauma on the body and a shorter recovery time than open surgery.
Prostatectomy (removal of prostate)
During this minimally invasive surgical procedure, the surgeon uses finely controlled robotic instruments to perform the prostatectomy safely while enhancing patient recovery and outcome. Unlike laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery instruments used in robotic prostatectomy can turn in all directions with 90 degrees of articulation and 7 degrees of freedom. During robotic prostate surgery, the robot provides the surgeon with improved visualization, dexterity, and precision compared with open or laparoscopic surgery, while enabling operation through 1-2 cm incisions. This allows the doctor to perform fine computer-controlled movements and a more precise and minimally invasive robotic prostatectomy. During this prostate cancer treatment, the patient’s delicate prostate nerves that control bladder and sexual function are spared.
Ureteral reconstruction/reimplantation (repairing tubes from bladder to kidneys)
This robotic urinary reconstructive procedure, which requires extremely delicate dissection and suturing technique, is performed when there is an obstruction of the ureter in the distal (bottom) portion where it meets the bladder. The surgeon cuts the ureter directly above the blockage and then reimplants the unobstructed portion of the ureter into the bladder by creating a new opening in the bladder and suturing the end of the ureter to the opening.
Performing urinary reconstruction through a traditional open incision requires a large incision to access the ureter, which extends from the kidney (located behind the ribs) to the bladder (located under the pubic bone). Robotic surgery requires only four small, quarter-inch incisions to access the same area, resulting in minimal scarring.
There is minimal blood loss with robotic urinary tract reconstructive surgery. Smaller incisions result in less pain than an open incision following surgery, and also heal more quickly, leading to a shorter hospital stay and faster return to normal activity.
Help for Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder can be disruptive to everyday living. The good news is that overactive bladder can be treated often with oral medication. Many patients are also helped by Botox injected into the muscles of the bladder; this therapy typically lasts for six to eight months and then is re-injected. For persons who have not found success with these treatments, these are other solutions available:
Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS)
PTNS is a minimally invasive form of neuromodulation used to treat overactive bladder and the associated symptoms of urinary urgency, urinary frequency, and urge incontinence. Simply put, this device sends an electric current to a nerve in the ankle and it interrupts the electrical impulses that are overstimulating the bladder.
InterStim Implantable Device
offers another technology – a device like a pacemaker for the bladder – for both men and women to help with urinary incontinence and frequency.
The InterStim is a small device that is implanted under the skin close to the tailbone. It’s programmed to emit electrical impulses that interrupt poor communication between the brain and the sacral nerves. By regulating the communication between the brain and the bladder, neuro-stimulation can reduce urinary leaking and urgency feelings.
UroLift System provides minimally invasive BPH treatment
Most men living with enlarged prostate (BPH) symptoms take prescription medications after they’re diagnosed, but these prescriptions may not provide adequate relief and could cause dizziness, fatigue, and other symptoms. United Regional now offers another advanced treatment option – the UroLift® System. This treatment is typically a one-time, out-patient surgical procedure that provides a straightforward solution to treat the blockage, freeing men from ongoing medications with rapid relief. The goal of the UroLift System treatment is to relieve symptoms so you can get back to your life and resume your daily activities. The simple UroLift System treatment uses tiny implants to hold open the obstructed pathway that is blocking urine flow – addressing the blockage, not just continuously treating BPH symptoms. Most patients return home the same day and experience a speedy recovery.
To find a physician in this medical specialty, please visit our Physician Directory, or contact United Regional Call-a-Nurse at 940-764-8570 or 800-982-9799.