Studies Suggest Robotic Surgery Is Effective in Bladder Cancer Treatment

February 28th, 2019 - Posted to Marina Robotics

Robotic Surgery Is Effective in Bladder Cancer TreatmentAbout 50,000 men and 17,000 women in the United States get diagnosed with bladder cancer each year. Generally, the treatment for bladder cancer involves the surgical removal of the bladder and organs close to it.

This procedure is called an open radical cystectomy, and though it is effective in the treatment of muscle-invasive bladder cancer, it is associated with substantial complications such as excessive blood loss and longer duration of hospital stays.

Minimally invasive surgical techniques have evolved as an alternative for open surgical procedures during the past decade. Robotic cystectomy is a newer, more effective minimally invasive surgical technique for bladder cancer treatment.

This bladder removal procedure uses the da Vinci Surgical System, which provides superior visualization and a robotic arm that imitates the surgeon’s movements precisely.

Randomized Open Versus Robotic Cystectomy Trial (RAZOR) & Open Radical Cystectomy (RARC)

According to a recent landmark study published in the Lancet journal, robotic surgery for treating bladder cancer is as effective as the traditional open method of surgery. The study funded by the National Cancer Institute is called Randomized Open Versus Robotic Cystectomy Trial (RAZOR) and included a total of 350 patients nationwide. The patients were randomly assigned to undergo open surgery or robotic surgery for bladder cancer removal. When followed up after two years, the two groups showed no significant differences in survival without progression of the disease. There were no significant differences in patient’s quality of life and rate of postoperative complications. Moreover, robotic surgery involved less blood loss and shorter hospital stays. The RAZOR trial revealed that about 72.3% of patients who underwent robotic surgery were alive, essentially cured and with no disease progression as compared with 71.6% survival in the open surgery group after two years of surgery. This study concluded that the robotic approach is as effective as the open method of surgery for bladder cancer.

Another study on the effectiveness of robotic-assisted surgery for invasive bladder cancer, the results of which were published in the Journal of Urology suggested that the Robotic-assisted Radical Cystectomy (RARC) reduces blood loss and shortens the hospital stay when compared with the open procedure. In this study, 47 patients with invasive bladder cancer were randomized to undergo open radical cystectomy or RARC. Later, the outcomes of these procedures were compared. It was found that the patients who underwent RARC had 50% less blood loss than the patients who had open surgery. In addition, patients who underwent RARC had a lower rate of blood transfusion, which was 40% compared to the 50% in the patients who had open surgery. Moreover, as much as 35% of patients in the RARC group left the hospital within five days as compared to only 10% of open-surgery patients.

Advantages of Robotic-Assisted Cystectomy Procedure

Robotic-Assisted Cystectomy offers patients with bladder cancer a potentially less problematic post-surgical prognosis with fewer complications, faster recovery and quick return to normal activities. It involves key-hole sized smaller incisions that allow:

  • reduced and unnoticeable scars
  • sparing of delicate and vital nerve and muscle tissues in the operative area
  • shorter hospital stay - average of five days
  • minimal blood loss

Above all, robotic-assisted cystectomy is associated with a 14% higher cancer removal rate when compared to traditional open surgery. If you want further information and guidance regarding robotic surgery for bladder cancer, consult our urologists at Marina Del Rey Hospital.