Minimally invasive prostate cancer surgery: Not-so-minimal risk?

Most people these days would opt for a less-invasive option in any surgical procedure, if one is available. Who wouldn't want quicker recovery time, less inconvenience and reduced pain? But a new study recently revealed that such surgery entails risks as well as benefits. Specifically, a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Oct. 13 found that despite the assumption that a minimally invasive prostate cancer surgery would yield better results, the evidence showed it increased the risk of losing sexual function and urine control.

There were some benefits. The study found that men who had a less-invasive surgery indeed spent less time in the hospital and had fewer respiratory and miscellaneous surgical complications. Regarding the cancer treatment itself, they had similar postoperative use of additional cancer therapies. However, they were more likely to be incontinent (lose urine control) and have erectile dysfunction than men who had conventional, open surgery. After adjusting for different factors, the researchers found that incontinence after surgery was 30 percent more likely in the less-invasive surgery, and impotence 40 percent more likely.