Robotic prostate surgery at Providence St. Peter Hospital: One patient’s experience

June 13, 2021 Providence News Team

Shelton resident Bill Kysor, 73, was not entirely surprised when he got his prostate cancer diagnosis. “It was not unexpected,” he says. “There’s family history.”

Bill Kysor

Still, the prospect of any cancer and treatment is daunting. Fortunately, Bill was otherwise in excellent physical health, he had trusted physicians and other caregivers on his team, and he was a candidate for a minimally invasive version of the surgery he needed.

Bill’s surgeon, Richard Greene, M.D., offered a robotic-assisted prostatectomy, which would require just a few small incisions.Through these, Dr. Greene would use special robotically controlled tools while viewing magnified images from the laparoscope (camera) on a 3D video screen.

The potential benefits of robotic prostatectomy, compared to open surgery, include a faster return home and to regular daily activities, less post-operative pain and discomfort, and a shorter recovery. Since robotic surgery uses small incisions and is highly precise, the risk of incontinence is low and the technique is continuously refined to improve potency.

After considering his options, Bill decided robotic surgery was the best course for him.

Surgery day

The surgery took two hours and was completed successfully. Bill expected a one-day hospital stay; in fact, it turned into two. “I stayed a second day due to low sodium levels, but that bounced back and I was discharged mid-day the next day,” he says. (He had been drinking extra water to prepare for his procedure; he suspects that may have contributed.)

Bill’s first post-op days and weeks were better than he had anticipated. He was up and walking just a few hours after surgery. “My surgery locations healed quickly with no infection, no irritation and little pain after about four days,” he says. “It feels like you did 100 sit-ups, when you aren’t used to doing them.”

Dr. Greene says Bill was an ideal candidate for robotic prostatectomy because he is a fit and active patient and had an excellent chance of curing his prostate cancer with surgery alone. “We as a group are very pleased to offer this service to our local community and the surrounding area. Robotic surgery has increased our ability to care for cancer patients in our community.”

Back in the saddle

Bill was back in the gym 10 days after surgery, following instructions to avoid lifting weight over 10 pounds in the initial weeks of recovery. As soon as a month passed, he resumed his regular workouts. (Part of his motivation to quickly get back to his fitness routine: He’s training to compete in track and field events during the Washington State Senior Games in July.)

Bill’s doctors had good news to share at his follow-up visits. The surgery was successful, and he won’t need radiation or chemotherapy.

Bill has positive things to say about the care he received, and made some notes so he would know who to thank once his
surgery was complete.

“From initial meetings with urologist Dr. David Ward, who I’ve seen on and off for years, to Dr. Greene, Justin Cooper, PA-C, and their associates, to the surgery team, anesthesiologist, and particularly the nursing staff in the SADU. All Providence staff were excellent during this process.”

For more information on urology procedures in Southwest Washington, call 360-486-6772.

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