The prostate is a gland found only in males that sits below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men causing about 27 percent of all cancers among Canadian men. If the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate, prostatectomy (a surgery that removes the prostate) and radiation therapy are used for treatment. Prostatectomy can be performed by conventional surgery or assisted by robotics. There is little Ontario-specific evidence on how effective robotic-assisted prostatectomy is or how often problems arise after surgery.
Health Quality Ontario Reviews Robotic-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy
The Da Vinci system is a robotic device used to perform surgery. Advantages of this system include minimal invasion, greater precision (by translating surgeons’ hand, wrist and finger movements into precise movements of miniaturized instruments), and three-dimensional imaging. This type of surgery has mostly been used for hysterectomy to treat cancers of the uterus entrance and lining and for radical prostatectomy to treat prostate cancer. Robotic-assisted minimally-invasive surgery costs more than other treatments and requires training of surgeons and other workers but can reduce many problems after surgery.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care endorses this recommendation.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: Radical prostatectomy surgery is an insured service and physicians may perform that surgery by any method they deem appropriate (with or without robotics). Health Quality Ontario has continued to examine this topic and the Ministry looks forward to receiving additional recommendations from Health Quality Ontario regarding robotic-assisted prostatectomy.