Lakeland Health Care

Prostate Cancer Services


Lakeland HealthCare, following its commitment to offer the best possible care to area residents, now offers surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System, the most advanced technology available for minimally invasive surgery.

Currently, the da Vinci system is used primarily for radical prostatectomy, or removal of the prostate. In the future, the system will be available for other types of surgery, such as heart surgery, digestive procedures, and removal of the uterus. Using the da Vinci system, surgeons can see inside the body more clearly and perform complex surgeries through tiny incisions. 

Patients and their families can enjoy peace of mind in electing to have surgery using this state-of-the-art technology in their own community.


Prostate Cancer Affects One in Every Six Men
About 16 percent of men will develop prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men other than skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 218,890 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2007. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in men, after lung cancer. The good news is that prostate cancer is also one of the most treatable types of cancer, and the death rates are declining due to early detection and improved treatments. While 1 man in 6 will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, only 1 man in 34 will die of this disease.


daVinci Technique Offers Better Outcomes for Patients
The treatment for prostate cancer depends on a variety of factors, including the patient's age and how advanced the cancer is. Many men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer will have radical prostatectomy, surgery to remove the prostate, a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. The prostate surrounds the urethra, the tube that empties urine from the bladder, and produces the fluid that is part of semen.

Conventional surgery for prostate surgery involved an eight- to ten-inch incision in the abdomen. It often results in substantial blood loss and a lengthy, uncomfortable recovery. Because the prostate is located near the bladder and the nerves that control erections, men who have their prostates removed are at risk for incontinence and impotence -- they may be unable to control their urine flow or to achieve erections.

Compared with traditional procedures, the da Vinci technique offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery
  • Smaller incisions
  • Minimal curring
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less blood loss and decreased need for blood transfusions
  • Less scarring
  • Less pain

Some men who have had the da Vinci procedure have noted they needed no pain drugs after surgery. Many men have found they regained control of their bladders and achieved erections within weeks, rather than months, of surgery. In addition, recent studies suggest that the robotic-assisted surgery provides better cancer control when the cancer is confined to the prostate.

While most radical prostatectomies can be performed with the da Vinci system, some men may not be candidates because of other health problems.


Surgical Skill Needed to Operate the daVinci Robot
The da Vinci Surgical System is a robotic-assisted surgical device that enhances the surgeon's ability to see the operating field and provides better control of surgical instruments, leading to more precise results.

Developed by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., the da Vinci represents the foremost technology in the expanding field of surgical robotics. The use of robotic assisted procedures has grown from 1,500 cases in 2004 to some 20,000 cases in 2004, with the numbers ever-increasing as a wide variety of surgical procedures are performed using robotics.

The da Vinci system consists of a surgeon console, a patient-side cart with four robotic arms, a high performance vision system, and instruments called EndoWrists, which provide all the flexibility of the human wrist and forearm.

During the radical prostatectomy, five tiny cuts are made in the abdomen. The EndoWrists are attached to the robotic arms and placed into four of the cuts in the abdomen. The fifth cut is used for the vision system, which allows the surgeon to view the operative site in three dimensions.  Using this vision system, the surgeon can see the prostate from any viewpoint and avoid important structures, such as the nerves that control potency and bladder control.

The surgeon, working at a console in the operating room, views the operating field and uses controls to operate the robotic arms and EndoWrists. The da Vinci system transfers the surgeon's exact hand and finger movements to precise microsurgical movements in the operative field.

The da Vinci allows robotic-assisted surgeries, not robotic surgeries, meaning that it is not programmed and does not make decisions on it own. Every surgical move is performed with direct input from the surgeon.

daVinci Surgeons
There are two important factors in treating prostate cancer, great technology and highly qualified doctors to use it and Lakeland has both.

The only fellowship-trained da Vinci urologist in southwest Michigan and Michiana, Dr. Benjamin Stockton completed a one-year fellowship in minimally invasive surgery procedures, including the da Vinci, at the University of Pittsburgh Hospitals, with additional training at Ohio State University. In addition to training other physicians in minimally invasive procedures, Dr. Stockton has published and presented a number of papers for physicians. Prior to his training in Pittsburgh, Dr. Stockton completed his urologic surgical residency at the University of Chicago Hospitals, with additional training in minimally invasive urology at the Cleveland Clinic. He earned his medical degree at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. 

HealthCurrents Article:  Lakeland Advances Robotics Program


If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, or for a second opinion, call (800) 968-0115. 
For more information on the da Vinci, visit 


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