Bladder cancer is the most common form of urinary tract cancer. For years, surgeons removed cancerous cysts in the bladder with an open surgical procedure called a cystectomy. In some cases, this type of procedure led to post-operative complications. Today, minimally invasive surgical options like robotic-assisted cystectomy offer less pain, shorter recovery times, and better outcomes.
If you’re diagnosed with bladder cancer, your treatment will depend on the progression of the disease and your overall health. The great news is that early detection and treatment often yield positive long-term results.
Bladder cancer symptoms may include:
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of bladder cancer, be sure to contact your doctor right away.
To detect bladder cancer and determine its extent and progression, your doctor may order one or more of the following diagnostic tests:
After diagnosis, your doctor may decide to closely monitor your condition and see how things progress.
If bladder cancer treatment is required, your doctor may prescribe a non-surgical treatment option like:
You doctor may also recommend combining several non-surgical treatment options with surgery, or getting surgery as soon as possible after diagnosis.
If surgery is recommended as part of your bladder cancer treatment plan, you’ll have several options to choose from.
Until recently, open cystectomy (open surgery) has been the main surgical option for bladder cancer patients. However, new minimally invasive surgical options are now being used at Aurora. These options offer fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, faster recovery times, and can be used to treat a variety of urinary tract cancers.
Robotic cystectomy is a cutting-edge, minimally invasive surgical technique that utilizes unprecedented medical technology to treat bladder cancer.
During robotic cystectomy, the daVinci™ Surgical System is used to give surgeons a high-definition, three-dimensional view of the surgical site throughout the surgery. The daVinci™ robot imitates doctors’ movements for improved dexterity and precision, helping to make six keyhole-sized incisions across the abdomen. These incisions give the doctor less invasive access to the bladder. The robot even assists with suturing (stitching) after surgery is over.
Benefits of Robotic Cystectomy
Robotic cystectomy is quickly becoming the preferred surgical method for treating bladder cancer. It often results in shorter hospital stays, fewer complications, and a faster recovery time than traditional open surgery.
When compared with traditional surgery, robotic cystectomy offers:
But the most exciting benefit of robotic cystectomy is that it’s been proven to have a 14% higher cancer removal rate than traditional surgery.
Laparoscopy is a surgical technique that gives your doctor access to the bladder without having to make large incisions in the skin.
Using a laparoscope - a thin tube with a light and camera attached – your doctor can access the bladder in order to perform biopsies, cancerous tissue removal, and organ removal.
Benefits of Laparoscopic Surgery
Another laparoscopic surgical option is single-incision laparoscopy, which uses a single incision in the belly button for less pain and scarring.
Cryosurgery is a surgical technique used to kill bladder cancer cells by freezing them.
During the procedure, an instrument called a cryoprobe delivers liquid nitrogen directly to the cells or tumor, freezing and killing the diseased tissue.
Your doctor will use an MRI or ultrasound to monitor the direction and application of the cryoprobe during surgery. Once the cancerous cells are destroyed, the probe is removed and the body naturally absorbs the tissue.
Benefits of Cryosurgery
If you choose to have bladder cancer surgery, your urology specialist may also want to discuss bladder reconstruction or the use of neobladders as part of your recovery process.