male patient

What Is Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery?

Minimally invasive urologic surgery is the latest in diagnostic and treatment techniques for people with disorders or diseases of the:

  • Kidneys
  • Bladder
  • Prostate

Surgeons use small tools through tiny keyhole cuts to diagnose and treat kidney stones, prostate cancer, and other urologic problems.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Urology Surgery

Minimally invasive, robotic techniques in the field of urology can reduce:

  • Post-op pain
  • Healing time
  • Side effects

Ronald Benoit, MD, a urologic surgeon and director of the urology center at UPMC Mercy says:

“Robotic urology uses laparoscopic instruments, so patients have smaller incisions and typically a faster recovery time.”

This technology is ideal for complex and precise urologic surgeries, such as a prostatectomy. During prostate surgery, doctors must operate in a tightly confined area surrounded by nerves that affect bladder control and sexual function.

Types of Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery

Minimally invasive methods for treating urologic problems include:

  • Robotic-assisted prostatectomy — this nerve-sparing technique for prostate cancer can preserve potency and bladder control.
  • Laparoscopic nephrectomy — this lets surgeons remove all or part of the kidney through a small cut instead of a large open cut.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy — this highly specialized technique lets surgeons remove large kidney stones through a keyhole cut. They use high-frequency sound waves to break down the kidney stones and a vacuum to quickly remove fragments.
  • Prostate brachytherapy (seed implants) — this is an effective treatment for prostate cancer. Seed implants deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor while reducing the risk of damage to nearby tissue. UPMC Mercy is the only Pittsburgh hospital using Cesium-131. This newer isotope has a much shorter half-life than older isotopes, which helps end side effects faster.

If you feel that one of these techniques could help you, ask your doctor or urologist. He or she can discuss which treatment may be right for you.