You learn you have prostate cancer, and you have been told that you need to have a radical prostatectomy to remove the diseased gland. You have a choice of an "open" procedure or a laparoscopic procedure. (By the way, we offer both at BIDMC.) How do you choose? What are the pro's and con's?
I attended a recent seminar of this topic -- yes, you get to do this kind of thing when you run a hospital -- and I was surpised to learn from our Chief of Urology that the case is not at all clear cut. I had thought that the laparoscopic procedure would be a clear winner on many counts, but there are arguments to be made on both sides.
I am giving my layperson's interpetation of what I learned, so please don't rely on this. Check with your doctor or the literature for a more accurate reading on the matter. Medicine being an inexact science, there are bound to be lots of opinions.
Since men only are reading this posting -- hold on, maybe some women readers joined us and are interested in this question, too -- I know that your first question will be about potency rates after the surgery. The answer: Similar results.
OK, what about effectiveness in removing the cancerous tissues? Similar results.
What about returning to regular life activities? With open surgery, doesn't the open incision mean a longer recovery time? No, postoperative pain is comparable in the two cases, and men can return to activities just as quickly despite an incision.
And so on, and so on. Are you surprised like I was?