Laser may reduce post-prostatectomy incontinence, ED

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CO2 laser therapy, used in combination with robotic surgery, may reduce the risk of damaging nerves during prostatectomy, according to a small study by researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York.

CO2 laser therapy, used in combination with robotic surgery, may reduce the risk of damaging nerves during prostatectomy, according to a small study by researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York.

"The precision of movement available through robotic surgery is already helping reduce the risk of sexual side effects, and the early evidence is that CO2 lasers will help us be even more accurate, especially when preserving the sensitive nerve areas necessary for sexual function and urinary continence," said senior author Ketan Badani, MD, of New York-Presbyterian /Columbia.

In the procedure, Dr. Badani uses the robotic instrumentation to remove the patient’s prostate. This process is aided by the laser, which is used to dissect the plane between the nerves and the prostate, freeing the nerves and preserving them.

In the study of 10 cases, which was published in the Journal of Endourology (2010; 24:1091-6), the team reports that the technology is easy to manipulate and very accurate. Patients experienced a return of urinary continence better than the norm, something the researchers said they found "extremely encouraging."

Future research will determine if the technology can improve outcomes with regard to the ability of men to sustain an erection and will examine its long-term ability to prevent cancer recurrence.

The laser technology, known as BeamPath, was provided by OmniGuide, Cambridge, MA.

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