Robotic Surgery for Prostate Cancer to be Broadcast Live on the Internet from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

March 17, 2008

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Ashok K. Hemal, M.D., a pioneer of urologic robotic surgery throughout the world, will perform a robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy during a live webcast that begins at noon, Wednesday, March 26, at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
Hemal, director of the Robotic and Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery Program at Wake Forest Baptist, helped develop the initial surgical protocols currently used by most urologists performing robotic surgery. A. Karim Kader, M.D., Ph.D., and Joseph A. Pettus, M.D., specialists in urologic oncology in the Department of Urology at Wake Forest Baptist, will narrate the procedure and take questions from Internet viewers.
Kader and Pettus are active in several national and international clinical trials on the management and outcome of urologic cancers, including prostate, bladder and kidney. They perform robotic, laparoscopic and open surgery for urologic malignancies.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in American men. When diagnosed and treated early, it is highly curable. The prostate gland is in a delicate location in the male reproductive system just below the bladder and is surrounded by important nerves for sexual function.
Surgical removal of the prostate (radical prostatectomy) is one of the treatment options for early-stage prostate cancer and requires great care to maximize the chance for cure and to preserve continence and sexual function.
The technique of robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is a less invasive method for removal of the prostate, resulting in less blood loss and quicker recovery as compared to the traditional open surgery. It also has excellent functional outcome.
The robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy capitalizes on the latest computer technology. Surgeons make approximately five small incisions or key holes into the patient’s abdomen through which a lighted camera and robotic and laparoscopic instruments are inserted. The surgeon sits at a console to operate the robot. The camera gives the surgeon a view inside the patient’s body that is three dimensional and has a 10-fold magnification.
The surgeon’s movements are transferred to the surgical field allowing the robot’s miniaturized instruments to remove the cancerous prostate, while preserving nerves and continence mechanisms. The assisting surgeon helps by changing various robotic instruments inserted in the ports and holding back organs to make room for the tiny instruments so that they may perform their delicate movements in the narrow space where the prostate is located.
The Prostate Cancer Program at Wake Forest Baptist offers comprehensive and collaborative care with a full spectrum of treatment options. Patients have access to specialty-trained urologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and clinical trials to provide them with the best treatment for their particular form of prostate cancer.
To view this live webcast, visit or The webcast will also be archived on the Wake Forest Baptist website. Patients interested in making appointments can call (866) 511-1932.

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Media contacts: Ann Hopkins,, at (336) 716-1280; Lisa Long,; or Bonnie Davis,, at 716-4587.

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center ( is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Brenner Children’s Hospital, Wake Forest University Physicians, and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine and Piedmont Triad Research Park. The system comprises 1,154 acute care, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and has been ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report since 1993. Wake Forest Baptist is ranked 32nd in the nation by America’s Top Doctors for the number of its doctors considered best by their peers. The institution ranks in the top third in funding by the National Institutes of Health and fourth in the Southeast in revenues from its licensed intellectual property.

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