I must say I found the following article in USA Today ( 4/1/09, by Liz Szabo) , bonechilling. A British study confirms what I’ve said many times: that when it comes to performing minimally-invasive radical prostatectomy or laparoscopy (which includes robotically assisted surgery, *although that was not the subject of this study*), NO amount of experience on the part of the surgeon is enough.
And there is another very important point being made which I have NOT heard before: That “open” surgeons (those who perform the traditional radical retropubic prostatectomy) who later switch to laparascopic surgery produce (much) worse results than doctors who initially specialize in this area.
Here are some excerpts from the USA Today article (more comments at end):
“Prostate cancer patients whose surgeons have anything less than the highest degree of experience with a popular new procedure may be at greater risk of relapse, according to a study in The Lancet Oncology April 1 edition.
<snip> “While it takes at least 250 surgeries for a doctor to become proficient at the traditional surgery — allowing patients to feel confident that doctors removed all of the cancerous tissue — surgeons need to do at least 750 keyhole procedures to become proficient. Doctors who are used to performing traditional surgery actually have a harder time learning keyhole techniques than novice surgeons who are learning to perform the procedure for the first time, the study show