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Things to consider before robotic surgery

Before having surgery of any kind, there are a number of factors to consider, such as whether or not surgery is the right approach for your needs and where to seek treatment.

Here are a few things to consider about robotic surgery:

Make sure you are a candidate – The idea of robotic surgery can be promising, but check with your doctor to see if you are a candidate. Robotic surgeries performed with the da Vinci® Surgical System are still a form of surgery, so a patient must be healthy enough for the procedure. Also, surgery isn’t always the best option for every type of cancer. For cancers likeleukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, radiation therapy andchemotherapy may be more suitable treatment options.

Traveling may be worth the effort – Robotic surgery is not available at every hospital. If the da Vinci System or theCyberKnife® VSI™ Robotic Radiosurgery System are not available where you originally planned to treat, then you may want to consider seeking a second opinion at a hospital with more advanced treatment options. Traveling for treatment may sound stressful, but receiving more advanced treatment options could be worth the effort.

Find the right doctor – Surgeons need to undergo extensive, specialized training to perform robotic surgery. This training builds on the surgeon’s existing skills, and requires him/her to complete numerous hours of training and practice. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor how many robotic procedures he or she has performed, and choose the doctor whose expertise makes you feel the most comfortable.

Understand the risks – While there are many advantages to robotic surgery, there may still be some risks. Make sure that your doctor explains the procedure and what to expect from the beginning. Ask lots of questions, and also take a look at the equipment that will be used.

Remember the doctor is in charge – If you’re picturing a sci-fi robot performing your surgery, then it is natural to feel anxious. However, keep in mind that your surgeon will be the one operating the machine, and rest assured that he or she will always be the one in control.

Be prepared for recovery – While a robotic procedure can greatly reduce your post-surgery recovery time, your body is still going to need some time to regain strength. Plan accordingly, and be prepared to rest and recoup immediately following the procedure.

Embrace new technologies – Ten years ago, cancer treatment options were much more limited than they are today. Ongoing research has led to new, advanced technologies that can be used to treat many different types of cancer. Exploring all of your options can help you make a more informed treatment decision, and find the right treatment plan for all of your individual needs.

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