The da Vinci Surgical System robot recently debuted in the USA when a surgeon became the first US national to use to the system to remove a patient's cancerous kidney and cancerous prostate through only a single, small incision.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) surgeon Rabii Madi, M.D., has performed the double robotic surgery on Tracy Huff, of Watson, Okla., after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and subsequent kidney cancer via CT scan.
The surgery is the first to be done involving the complete removal of the kidney and prostate and performed by the same surgeon.
"This is a big step forward for surgery and a tremendous advantage for the patient. Having both procedures done this way minimized surgical risks, the use of anesthesia, his recovery time, time away from work, pain and his financial burden," said Madi.
Huff visited Madi a week after surgery, and said that he was amazed by the robotic procedure.
"I thought the worst when I found out I had cancer. But it's amazing what UAMS can do. It's given me a new chance on life," said Huff.
Traditionally, the surgery to remove the kidney and the prostate has been done using much longer incisions, which are more painful and heal more slowly.
Had each procedure been done separately, several weeks apart, it would have further delayed the patient's return to normal activities.
"Recovery time for both big surgeries would have taken at least eight weeks," said Madi.
He claimed that they chose Huff for the procedure due to his relatively young age - 46 - and overall good health, because he was under anaesthesia for about six hours.
The robotic time for removing the kidney was 1 hour and 40 minutes, and removing the prostate took 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Madi said that although the treatment for Huff's case marks a first, the kidney/prostate diagnosis isn't new, and it won't be the last.
"The incidence of kidney cancer and prostate cancer is going up," he said.
Huff, who spent just three days in the hospital after surgery, could return to work next week.
"I'm in no pain whatsoever," said Huff.