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New prostatectomy surgery is minimally invasive

On Feb. 23, Houston VA continued its expansion of minimally invasive surgeries by performing its first single-port robotic simple prostatectomy using the state-of-the-art da Vinci Surgical System.

For men with enlarged prostates, the surgical procedure restores normal urinary function by removing the obstructing part of the prostate.

Unlike the multi-port robotic system which enters the abdomen through four to six incisions, the single port robotic system requires only one incision and enters the body near the bladder.

“Previously, we had to enter the abdominal cavity to get where we needed to get to,” said Dr. Jeremy Slawin, director of Robotic Urologic Surgery. “You had to move the colon and bowels out of the way and, for many patients, it can take a long time for their bowels to recover. They can also have nausea and pain, and that can lead to a longer hospital stay.”

The Houston VA robotic team with the new da Vinci Surgical System is pictured above.

Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Iraq War Veteran Angelo Devine was the first Veteran to benefit from the new surgery, which was performed by Dr. Slawin and Dr. Michael Brooks, VA surgeons.

Just one incision? Let’s do it!

“The doctor gave me the pros and cons of each surgery and left it up to me as to which way I wanted to go,” said Devine, who served in the Army for 34 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel. “The single port was just one incision, so I said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Bringing the new technology to Houston VA Veterans was years in the making and involved the hard work of staff across Houston VA.

“Houston VA has long been a nationwide leader for urologic robotic surgery. The single port robot allows us to expand our minimally invasive surgery offerings to Veterans while continuing to also be an essential part of surgical education for the next generation of urologic surgeons,” said Dr. Neel Srikishen, deputy section chief, Urology.

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