Radical Prostatectomy Surgery

Radical prostatectomy is the complete removal of the cancerous prostate gland and seminal vesicles.

What is Prostatectomy?

Radical prostatectomy is typically performed to treat early-stage prostate cancer. During this procedure, the entire prostate gland and some of the surrounding tissue is removed. Robotic prostatectomy is quickly becoming the standard treatment for early-stage prostate cancer, but open prostatectomy and non-robotic laparoscopic (minimally invasive) prostatectomy are also viable options.

Prostatectomy at Brigham and Women's Hospital

Most prostatectomy procedures at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) are performed robotically. Robotic radical prostatectomy surgery uses a combination of high-definition 3D magnification, robotic technology, and miniature instruments to enhance a urologic surgeon’s skills when removing a cancerous prostate gland.

Adam S. Kibel, MD, Chief of Urology, and Steven L. Chang, MD, MS, use the FDA-approved da Vinci® Surgical System to perform hundreds of robotic prostatectomies each year. The system consists of a surgeon’s console, equipped with a control panel and a hi-definition monitor, and a patient side-cart, outfitted with slender robotic arms and attended by another surgeon and a nurse.

Unlike traditional open prostate surgery, which requires one large incision and retraction to accommodate human hands, only tiny incisions in the abdomen (see image below) are required for the slender robotic arms and tiny surgical tools used in a robot-assisted prostatectomy. There are four available arms - one equipped with a high definition 3-D magnification camera, two that act as the surgeon’s arms and a fourth arm that is used for holding back tissue. The camera gives the surgeon enhanced detail, true depth of field and a panoramic view, and the robotic hands’ broad range of movement enables greater dexterity.

Robotic surgery's miniaturization, increased range of motion, enhanced vision and mechanical precision offer significant benefits for our prostatectomy patients, including:

  • Less blood loss
  • Less post-surgical pain/less medication
  • Quicker recovery and return to normal activities
  • Less scarring
  • Greater probability of maintaining urinary continence
  • Less risk of erectile dysfunction

Urological Care at Brigham and Women's Hospital

Urology at BWH continues to play a leadership role in developing new therapies for prostate cancer, benign prostate disease, and bladder dysfunction. Members of our clinical staff are all on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and are international leaders in treating prostate, bladder, testicle, and renal cancers and men’s sexual dysfunction. Our services include urologic oncology, men's sexual health, and urodynamics.

Our researchers are international leaders in molecular genetics, image-guided radiotherapy, tumor markers, and surgical robotics.

Much of our staff, under the direction of the Chief of Urology, Adam Kibel, MD, acts as the surgical oncology team for the Genitourinary Cancer Treatment Program at the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center. This integrated cancer center in adult oncology brings together genitourinary, radiation, and medical oncologists with urological surgeons to treat patients as one medical team.

Patient- and Family-focused Care

BWH has long been committed to not only the care of our patients but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care - involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment – is a guiding force behind the care we provide at the Department of Urology.

Quality of Patient Care

BWH is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our Inpatient Satisfaction Survey, sent to patients' to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and where we could improve. We pride ourselves in the Quality of Patient Care we provide and how we compare with other hospitals.

Brigham and Women's Hospital Urology Team

The urology team at BWH features internationally recognized physicians who are all faculty at Harvard Medical School. Together they continue to build on our long and distinguished history by offering innovative, compassionate, and patient-centered care, and pioneering groundbreaking advances in the treatment of all urological conditions. Meet our urology team.

Additional Resources

For a more-detailed view of the robotic arms and hands in action, watch video clips of a robotic prostatectomy performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Robotic-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy Video

Contact Us

If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our urological experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs or fill out an online appointment request form.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital

For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

About BWH