Crouse Hospital

736 Irving Avenue / Syracuse, NY

The Man Behind the Robot: Q&A with David Albala, MD

David Albala, MD

David Albala, MD, formerly director of the Center of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Urological Surgery at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, has joined the medical staff of Crouse Hospital.

Dr. Albala is considered a leading national and international authority in laparoscopic and robotic urological surgery and has been an active teacher in this clinical area for over 18 years. His research and clinical interests have centered around robotic urological surgery, which will be his primary focus at Crouse Hospital. In his career, Dr. Albala has performed more than 1,100 prostatectomies using the da Vinci surgical robot.

Why should a patient be interested in learning about robotic surgery for prostate cancer?

First of all, there are a lot of choices for treating prostate cancer.

From surgery to remove the prostate to treatments that focus only on the cancerous part of the gland Crouse Hospital offers the full array of options, so we can meet each patients unique needs.

For many men, robotic surgery offers an excellent combination of benefits in terms of treating the cancer and maintaining quality of life.

What are some of those benefits?

Because robotic surgery is minimally invasive, the side effects can be much less significant. Although every man is different, robotic surgery can mean a shorter recovery time, less pain, and the quick return of potency and urinary control.

And patients are left with several tiny scars instead of one long one.

But is robotic surgery effective in treating the cancer?

Yes. As in open surgery, the primary purpose of robotic surgery is to cure the cancer by removing the prostate gland entirely.

Is robotic surgery widely available?

It is becoming more common and the demand for it is growing rapidly.

As with any surgery, the experience of the surgeon is an important consideration. I have performed more than 1,100 of these procedures. Crouse Hospital is placing an emphasis on its robotic surgery program, which we expect will continue to grow with the opening of the hospitals new Witting Surgical Center in 2011.

But doesnt the robot do the work?

A robot is only as good as the surgeon controlling it. As in medicine in general, the best care requires both cutting-edge technology and a human touch.