Successful robotic surgery used to treat prostate cancer


The Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal (HSCM) and McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) today presented the latest developments in the use of a surgical robot to perform radical prostatectomies. This represents a first in Québec in the treatment of prostate cancer. Dr. Assaad El-Hakim, a urologist who specializes in non-invasive treatment of urological cancer, and who is responsible for this type of procedure, explained the many benefits of the surgery in the company of Mr. Robert Pépin, a patient who recently underwent a procedure involving this technology.

The procedure has a number of advantages over conventional open surgery. Blood loss is reduced by 80 to 90%, and the need for transfusions is virtually eliminated. There is also a significant reduction in the associated pain, the length of the hospital stay, and the recovery period following a robotic prostatectomy.

"I never thought I would recover so quickly following the procedure. I felt very little pain during the days that followed, and my sense of wellness and energy levels were quickly restored," explained Mr. Robert Pépin, who was thrilled with the results of his robotic operation, which was performed only a month ago.

Dr. Ronald Denis, Chief of Department of Surgery and Director of the Trauma Program at HSCM, noted that "40% of prostatectomies performed in the United States in 2006 will be performed by a surgical robot. While robotic surgery cannot replace surgeons, it does enhance the surgeon's ability to work around delicate areas and improves the outcome for the patients."

The number of radical prostatectomies performed in the United States and in several European countries has increased exponentially since the technique was first introduced in 2001. Dr. El Hakim explains why it is so popular: "these advances in microsurgical techniques, the use of three-dimensional computer guided navigation, the application of high tech enhanced imaging robotic technology, and precision motion scaling allows surgeons to perform more fine-tuned and less invasive surgery than traditional prostatectomies. This translates into better long-term functional outcomes and quality of life for patients." In addition he says "I appreciate the opportunity to work with da Vinci and collaborate with Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal to treat patients with prostate cancer."

Dr. Armen Aprikian, Chief of Urology at the MUHC is very excited about the partnership between the two institutions. ""his is a perfect example of making the most of available resources to improve patient care. I am very proud of the relationship established between the MUHC and HSCM that allows us to offer state-of-the-art cancer surgery in Quebec."

An associate member of Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, Dr. Assaad El-Hakim holds the position of Assistant Professor of Urology at McGill University Health Centre. He has gained unique expertise in Québec as the first Canadian urologist to have received highly specialized training in robotic radical prostatectomy. He received this training in the United States, where he was involved in more than 150 robotic prostatectomies.

For more information on the da Vinci robot:

Contact Information

Josée Michelle Simard
Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal
Office Phone: 
514-338-2222 ext. 2473