Despite the taboo, men’s and women’s sexual health has been an essential part of the healthcare industry for decades. Whether it’s erectile dysfunction (ED) issues, urinary incontinence (which affects roughly 25 million people in the U.S.), or much more severe breast and prostate cancer issues, sexual health is an essential part of modern healthcare services.
Thanks to some emerging technology out of the UK, however, a new robot could soon help people battle some of these difficult and intimate health issues.
According to Daily Mail, a surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London has pioneered the use of a robotic surgery machine to combat prostate cancer. Not only does this robot fight prostate cancer, it also limits the risk of both erectile dysfunction and incontinence.
Surgeon Christopher Ogden uses the high-tech da Vinci Xi surgical robot to perform robotic prostatectomies, which removes some or all of the tumorous prostate. And thanks to this advanced robotics technology, more men are leaving the surgical center cancer free.
“The arms are controlled by the surgeon from a console next to the operating table,” Dr. Ogden told Daily Mail. “The procedure eliminates the risk of surgical error through hand tremors or shakes. And the video display in the console is highly magnified, which means we are better at avoiding damage to nearby nerves.”
The original da Vinci Surgical System was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000. According to the Mayo Clinic, surgical robots are typically reserved for minimally invasive surgeries, but that’s started to change as the technology improves and patients become more comfortable with the idea. After all, skilled surgeons are still directing the procedure, at least for now.
Thanks to surgical robots like the da Vinci Xi, new cancer treatments, and early detection, more men are surviving this disease.
“Soon, this [prostate cancer] could be a disease that men routinely survive, and has little impact on their daily life,” said Dr. Iain Frame, researcher director at the charity Prostate Cancer UK.
Not only does dealing with prostate cancer cause an immense amount of stress on the affected individual, but the current treatments can also lead to ED or urinary incontinence, both of which are very stressful conditions, too.
Although studies show nine out of 10 men with ED are able to perform sexually regardless of their condition after using a vacuum pump device, there are still physiological issues that stem from suffering from any sexual health issue, including incontinence.
“The robot performs at least twice as well as the best surgeon in getting all the cancer out in one go — reducing the need for repeat surgery, and greater risk of erectile dysfunction and incontinence,” added Frame. “About 13 years ago, I was the first British surgeon to use the Da Vinci robot, which is a high-tech version of keyhole surgery, where instruments are held by a machine with robotic arms.”
When it comes to American sexual health, it’s important that further research is gathered, studies reported, and financial donations given to help fight some of these severe health problems. Roughly 95.4% of Americans participate in some form of charitable giving each year, and there are many nonprofits working to identify new solutions to cancer.
Though both young and old could soon be treated by robotic surgeons for all types of medical issues, traditional medication and surgeries will likely remain the norm for many more years.