LONG ISLAND, NY – Over the weekend, we celebrated the inauguration of our new Institute of Robotic Surgery, now located at the Mediterranean Hospital of Cyprus located in Limassol. The first SMART Robotic Surgery (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique), was performed in Cyprus as well as the first robotic prostatectomy ever performed in Limassol last Wednesday, July 22.
Worldwide, more than 1.1 million patients are diagnosed each year with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer still remains one of the leading causes of death in men throughout many countries, including Cyprus, a small island in the eastern Mediterranean with a population of about 1.2 million.
Robotic surgery has delivered on many promises in the field of prostate cancer, most especially in the area of patient recovery. Combined with our SMART Technique and the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, patients cured from prostate cancer recover much more quickly with minimal side effects, in regards to continence and sexual function.
Many people wonder how I began on this journey. In the year 2000, I had been performing open surgery for prostate cancer for quite some time. At that time, laparoscopic techniques for prostate cancer were becoming a well-known practice in France. Always eager to understand advancements and technology that can improve and expand the field of prostate cancer, I embarked on a fellowship to train in laparoscopy. Through this and the magic of coincidence, I happened to be at the right place, at the right time, and witnessed the first 11 robotic surgeries in France. What I witnessed was the beginning of something truly miraculous, where the marriage of technology and science of surgery came together, in combination with foundational principles of laparoscopic technique and thus robotic surgery for prostate cancer was born. With over 6,000 cases performed, this has turned out to be a magic formula for curing prostate cancer and only continues to improve the outcome men face post-surgery.
Now of course with any new technology comes a lot of skepticism and robotic surgery is no stranger to criticism. But fast forward 15 years and look where we are. In the field of prostate cancer alone, we’ve seen many advances in patient recovery time, optimal outcome, better cure rate and less issues with impotence and incontinence.
The misnomer that often comes with robotic surgery starts with people assuming the robot performs the entire surgery. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If performed correctly, the surgeon does the entire operation and an experienced surgeon plus the technology of the robot will lead to great outcome. Inexperienced surgeons plus the technology means a lot of complications will arise. We often hear of complications around robotic surgery. This actually has nothing to do with the robot; it has to do with the fact that the surgeon may not be comfortable performing the technique.
The SMART Technique was designed specifically to avoid issues of incontinence after prostate cancer surgery. Employing the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, our SMART Technique removes the prostate, sparing urinary functions as well as preserving the neurovascular bundles surrounding the prostate, through meticulous dissection. In addition, no heat or cautery is applied to the area. Instead, clips and cold scissors are used to further protect the nerves responsible for sexual function. With our SMART Technique, men no longer need to fear the prospect of living with incontinence after prostate cancer surgery. This technique was specifically designed to minimize any damage to urinary control. As men evaluate prostate surgery for treatment, thorough research on the surgeon’s case volume, experience and outcomes are essential. Preparing for the surgery and the follow-up care received can have a great impact on a man’s urinary health. These factors play a huge role in the level of incontinence they may experience
The goal of our Institute for Robotic Surgery at the Mediterranean Hospital of Cyprus is to train surgeons to apply robotic surgery to their respective fields. It’s a privilege and honor to now be able to bring the SMART Technique principles, knowledge and results we’ve learned over the years, to other areas of the world. The Institute of Robotic Surgery welcomes doctors and surgeons from the neighboring region to work directly with myself and the team in advancing research and techniques for robotic surgery procedures in the field of Urology and eventually expanding to other fields such as Gynecology and Colorectal.
The geographical location of Cyprus, in combination with the Mediterranean Hospital of Cyprus facility, provides an exceptional option for doctors and patients from Asia, Africa and Europe to easily access and be involved in developing the knowledge and skills needed for the use of the Da Vinci Robotic System technology safely and efficiently.
We are especially grateful to President Nicos Anastasiades, Dr. Andreas Panayiotou, Chairman of the Board at Mediterranean Hospital of Cyprus and urologist and coordinator of the institute Dr. Angelos Achilleos for their hospitality and support in building this institute to become the leading robotic surgery center in the world.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery, and an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team and the chief medical correspondent for am970 in New York City, where he is heard Sundays at 10 a.m.