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I had my Da Vinci surgery 8 weeks ago. I was concerned about the Robot stopping and asked my Dr. about the possibility of open surgery. He told me that one of the other urologists from his practice group was going to be present during the operation. The other surgeon had 18 years experience with open surgery and if something went wrong with the Da Vinci, they would not stop, but go ahead with the open surgery. Fortunately for me, everything went well. I thought it was standard proceedure to be ready for the open in case of problems. I also know that my surgeon said that he has never had a problem with the Da Vinci proceedure in over 130 surgeries.
Thanks to all for you comments over the past several weeks. Here is an update. I had an appointment on Nov 24 with Dr. Alan Wein, Chief of Urology at Univ of Penn Hosp. He ordered a series of MRI studies to determine the extent of adhesions. I had a follow up appointment with him today. He informed me that the MRI report indicated that I had a large presence of fatty tissue (lipomatosis) in the region of my bladder and prostate. He said he could still perform the open surgery, but that the fatty tissue would likely cause more bleeding than normal. Nonetheless, he recommended that I see a radiation oncologist before I decide on the surgery. That appointment is tomorrow. Stay tuned.
It is not unusual for Robotic surgery to convert to open. I had an excellent surgeon (performed the most LARPs in Nebraska)who ran into complications. I had a double fracture of the pelvis in '94. He said trying to get to the prostate and lymph nodes was similar to pouring molasses on a newspaper, then trying to separate the pages. I was in surgery for almost 4 hours and in the hospital for 5 days. The tumor had attached itself to the rectum wall. I'm sorry you have to go back in to surgery. This is major surgery and you can't just bounce back from it.