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Quick, Innovative Procedure Helps Men Minimize Incontinence After Prostatectomy

Thousands of men facing surgical removal of the prostate due to cancer may someday have one less thing to worry about: post-surgical urinary incontinence.

That's because a team of expert urologic surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center has devised a simple, effective means of reconstructing key anatomical structures that ensure continence.

They describe the success of the procedure in the journal Urology.

"Modifying existing tissues, our technique added only a few minutes to standard robotic prostatectomy, yet attained a 95 percent continence rate among patients 16 weeks after their surgeries," explains lead researcher Dr. Ashutosh K. Tewari, director of robotic prostatectomy and outcomes research at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and the Ronald P. Lynch Associate Professor of Urologic Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"This is a real breakthrough in prostate cancer care, as a significant number of patients have post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence," adds senior researcher Dr. E. Darracott Vaughan, attending urologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and The James J. Colt Professor of Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is also Weill Cornell's senior associate dean for clinical affairs.

"Too often, the threat of incontinence can be a key factor in a patient's decision for or against prostatectomy," Dr. Vaughan adds. "A simple intervention like this could make that choice a lot easier."

Prostatectomy involves the excision of the prostate gland, as well as some adjacent tissue, depending on the extent and aggressiveness of the tumor. "Unfortunately, this can weaken structures that control the retention and release of urine from the bladder, such as the puboprostatic ligaments, related muscle and other key anatomy," Dr. Tewari explains. "Together, these structures form a kind of sphincter that must remain strong and supported
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