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Robotic Surgery for Prostate Cancer


Surgery to remove the prostate gland (prostatectomy) is a common treatment for prostate cancer. Our team performed the first robotic prostatectomy in Illinois and has maintained the highest quality and volume since that time. Surgery is often a management option when:

  • The prostate cancer is newly diagnosed, early stage and localized to the gland
  • While on active surveillance, new cancer features are identified requiring a change in management
  • The tumor is advanced but safe to remove surgically. In this scenario, radical prostatectomy is often combined with other treatments.
  • The prostate cancer recurs after radiation therapy
Gregory Zagaja, MD, at robotic surgery console Urologic oncologist Gregory Zagaja, MD, at the robotic surgery console.

Our urologic surgeons use robot-assisted techniques for nearly all radical prostatectomies, which also includes the removal of the seminal vesicles and portions of the vas deferens. During this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon controls the surgical tools from a console in the operating room. The robotic surgical system gives the surgeon a three-dimensional view and a greater range of motion and allows for better surgical precision while performing this highly technical procedure. Robotic surgery has many advantages for the patient including:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less pain
  • Less scarring and injury to tissue
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Fewer complications
  • Quicker return to daily activities

Because the prostate gland is surrounded by nerves and involved in other structures important for sexual function and urination, radical prostatectomy is a complex procedure that requires a highly experienced urologist. Urologic surgeons at the University of Chicago Medicine specialize in techniques that remove prostate cancer tissue while preserving the surrounding nerves. This optimizes the chances of maintaining normal urinary and sexual function following the surgery. We maintain detailed data regarding the cancer, urinary function and sexual function for all of our patients. The goals of this data collection are to provide quality feedback to the surgeons, realistic expectations for patients, opportunities for constant improvement and research information for our publications.

Among the Top 10 Robotic Urologic Surgery Programs in the World

The urology program at the University of Chicago Medicine has one of the largest and most experienced robotic surgery teams in the country. Our urologists pioneered robot-assisted surgery for prostate cancer in the early 2000s and have performed more than 4,000 prostatectomies since that time.


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