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James “Doug” Woods knows a thing or two about precision machinery. A retired heavy-duty truck mechanic and lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, he’s spent countless hours rebuilding complicated engines. So it’s not surprising that precision was a factor in his choosing da Vinci robotic surgery to treat his prostate cancer.
When a biopsy confirmed that Doug had cancer, his urologist, Patrick Fowler, MD, outlined the treatment options, including da Vinci surgery, which Dr. Fowler considered a good option for Doug. When Doug watched a DVD of the da Vinci procedure, his mechanic’s eye was impressed.
“The precision of the instruments was awesome,” he says. Doug was convinced – but a friend who’d previously had traditional surgery for prostate cancer questioned whether the da Vinci could look inside the surgical site as well as doctors could with the naked eye. Doug soon found out the da Vinci actually enhances what doctors can see.
In fact, da Vinci technology gives surgeons a high-definition, 3-D view inside the body at up to ten times its actual size. Not only is the view magnified, but the instruments also are more flexible than a human hand. And da Vinci surgery can result in less blood loss – and less pain – than with traditional surgery.
Dr. Fowler’s partner, urologist P. Tryg Stratte, MD, performed Doug’s procedure. “With da Vinci robotics, we can perform entire procedures through incisions about the size of a dime,” says Dr. Stratte. “For the surgeon, this means an extremely high level of precision. For the patient, it means a faster return to everyday activities. That’s a win-win.”
Doug underwent his prostatectomy in October 2014 and went home two days later. Soon, he was out walking his dogs, and taking short motorcycle rides.
“Once I came home, I didn’t need any pain medicine,” he says. Doug’s friend, meanwhile, had required heavy pain medication after his surgery. “He’s a tough guy, but he said he was in a lot of pain afterward.”
“My recovery has gone better than I ever hoped. I can’t say enough about both of my doctors.”
Most people are candidates for da Vinci surgery, but it may not be right for everyone. Only you and your doctor can decide whether da Vinci surgery is the best option for you. Talk to your doctor about your options.
For a physician referral, call 888.628.1948 or use our search tool to Find a Doctor.