Robotic Radical Prostatectomy

In many cases of prostate cancer, surgical removal of the entire prostate gland, called radical prostatectomy, is the preferred treatment.

Traditionally, prostatectomy is performed by making an incision in the lower abdomen. During the past 20 years, the surgical technique has improved the ability to cure prostate cancer while reducing potential complications such as blood loss, incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Improvements in technology and surgeon experience have led to the development of minimally invasive, or laparoscopic, operations where the procedure is visualized with a small telescope and performed through several small incisions, rather than one large one.

This approach is used to perform radical prostatectomy with a state-of-the-art robotic system, called the daVinci Surgical System. It provides a magnified, 3-dimensional view during the operation and maintains surgeon dexterity through its robotic arms.

UCSF Medical Center uses the robotic system, drawing on our prior experience and achieving similar excellent results.

A comparison of the traditional and robot-assisted radical prostatectomy is summarized below.


Operative Time   

2.5 – 3 hours

4 – 5 hours

Blood Loss

@ 600 cc

@ 200 cc


2.5 – 4.5x magnification   

4 – 10x magnification

Estimated Incision Size  

9 cm

One 2.5 cm and four 1 cm



Likely reduced


1 – 2 days

1 – 2 days


7 days

Potentially less


About 95 percent

About 90 percent


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Prostate Cancer Center
1825 Fourth St., Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Medical Oncology Phone: (415) 476-4616
Surgical Oncology Phone: (415) 353-7171
Medical Oncology Fax: (415) 353-7107
Surgical Oncology Fax: (415) 514-6195

Condition Information