Health Watch - High-Tech Medicine: Surgical Skill

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about technological advances in medicine. New technology gives doctors an advantage in diagnosis, and surgical robots make extremely delicate operations possible. But even with advanced technology, success depends on the surgeon’s skill.

Surgical robots can give surgeons an advantage, but when you’re looking for a surgeon to perform prostate surgery, it’s best to look more at the surgeon’s track record and experience than at the technology the surgeon uses. Studies have found that surgical success rates are about the same between traditional surgery and robot-assisted surgery, though hospital stays are shorter with the robot surgery.

Dr. Yair Lotan, a urologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says just going to a surgeon who uses a robot won’t assure that you get the best outcome. It’s important to know how much training and experience the surgeon has with that robot. When selecting a surgeon, ask about the surgeon’s experience and outcomes for the procedure you’ll be having.

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July 2010


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