January 22, 2016
What could make robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy even better? How about another robot?
Dan Stoianovici, Ph.D., Director of the Urology Robotics Program, and his world-renowned Robotics Laboratory have designed, built and tested a robot that maneuvers an ultrasound probe. This novel robot, called the transrectal ultrasound probe manipulator (TRUS robot, for short), allows surgeons to do something very important: See — and preserve, if no cancer is there — the tiny neurovascular bundles, which contain the nerves that are needed for erection, and are critical for recovery of sexual potency.
In a recent study, working with surgeon Misop Han, M.D., the David Hall McConnell Professor in Urology, and other Brady colleagues, Stoianovici tested the TRUS robot in a brand-new procedure called tandem-robot assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, or T-RALP, done in 49 men whose average age was 59. The TRUS robot was used together with the daVinci surgical robot, to take ultrasound images "at critical points of the operation," says Stoianovici.
The results showed that the T-RALP is safe and feasible, and that it "can potentially improve the visualization of the neurovascular bundles, and subsequently improve postoperative recovery of potency in men."