Biopsy Testing During                 Prostatectomy

Two of the biggest problems following a prostatectomy is loss of erectile function and possible incontinence.


Surgeons at The Lister Hospital, Stevenage can now "save" the nerves that control erectile functions; these nerves sit very close to the prostate and can be damaged resulting in erectile problems. For some men,  the surgeon carrying out the operation is able to "peel back" these nerves and they are protected during the operation.


However, with this nerve sparing surgery, there is a chance that some cancer cells could be left behind following the removal of the prostate.


Lister Hospital, Stevenage, part of The East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust is having success with a procedure that involves a biopsy procedure. The Lister is fortunate to have an advanced state-of-the-art robotic surgery unit, the da vinci robot.


Prostate removal procedures carried out using this robot are generally faster, safer and mean that the patient can be up and about in a couple of days and leave hospital also within two to three days.


The biopsy procedure called NeuroSAFE also carried out at The Lister Hospital, has had a good success rate with close to 100 procedures so far.


The advantage of the procedure is that a biopsy can be tested DURING the actual operation and      results be back with the surgeon while the patient is still under anesthetic and any cancer cells detected in the biopsy can be removed immediately, thereby improving the patients chances of a successful recovery and little or no chance of reoccurrence of prostate cancer.


The disadvantage is that a pathologist, complete with available lab' time, must be available to carry out the biopsy, which adds to the cost of the operation.


At present this additional procedure is still in its early stages, but hopefully, with time and as the procedure becomes better understood, more men will be able to say "How about Tonight Josephine" to their partners.