There are multiple treatment options available for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, including robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP). Mark S. Austenfeld, MD, has witnessed the explosion of robotic-assisted surgeries taking place at his institution and in the surrounding area. Additionally, he describes that many residents are being trained to perform only RALP and not traditional retropubic prostatectomies.
Austenfeld believes that innovation will continue to improve the technology available and will result in an amazing instrument. However, he points out that ultimately the device is a tool that must be utilized by a trained surgeon. Much like any other tool it can be used inappropriately or incorrectly and will only be able to achieve its full potential in the correct hands.
E. David Crawford, MD, adds that his institution did not initially adopt RALP because of concerns over the device. He feels that residents should still receive training on open prostatectomies and that further competition is needed to foster improvements to the devices used for RALP.