ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR HAREWOOD
Whitehorse Leader newspaper article July 19 2006
Pace pick-up on a prostate op
CUTTING-edge technology meant Dino Signorelli could leave hospital in just two days after undergoing radical surgery.
The grandfather-of-five, 62, had his prostate removed at the Epworth Eastern hospital this month, after prostate cancer diagnosis.
He was the 100th patient to undergo a robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy in the hospital in Box Hill.
The $3 Million "da Vinci Surgical System" allows surgeons to perform delicate keyhole surgery with minimal scarring or post-operative pain.
Now in recovery, Mr Signorelli said a case of unrelated foot gout was giving him more trouble than his surgery wounds.
"It wasn't painful or even uncomfortable," he said, after returning to his East Kew home from hospital.
Urologist Dr Laurence Harewood performed the surgery on Mr Signorelli.
First, he made a number of small incisions in the abdomen, each about the size of a five-cent piece.
Then the robotic instruments were inserted and controlled by the surgeon at the console, which Dr Harewood nicknamed the "elephant's bottom".
"The robotics create a wrist on the instruments that mimics a surgeons's armm and wrist," he said. "It replicates my movements."
The equipment also features three-dimensional binocular vision, magnifying the surgeon's view by up to 10 times.
"It makes a huge difference. There is much greater finesse over one's movements, so we can perform more accurate, meticulous surgery," Dr Harewood said.
This means patients have less post-operative discomfort, less bleeding and are less likely to need a blood transfusion, he said.
The technology also reduces patients's hospital time from five to seven days to two to five days, while recovery time shrinks to two to three weeks instead of five to seven.
Dr Harewood said the technology also quickened the return of patient's erectile function and reduced the likelihood of incontinence.
The technology is also used at the Epworth Hospital.