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J Craniofac Surg. 2013 Jan;24(1):49-50. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e318270fbe0.

How surgical innovation reduced death and suffering from prostate cancer.

Author information

1
From the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. pwalsh@jhmi.edu

Abstract

Radical prostatectomy for the cure of prostate cancer never gained widespread popularity because of severe side effects: all men were impotent, many were totally incontinent, and when performed by the retropubic approach, bleeding was often life threatening. When I arrived at Johns Hopkins in 1974 as the new director of the Brady Urological Institute, I embarked upon a series of anatomic studies to determine the source of this morbidity. Using the operating room as an anatomy laboratory and performing dissections in stillborn male infants, it was possible to define important, previously unrecognized anatomic structures. Application of these discoveries to the surgical technique made it possible to preserve sexual function, reduce urinary continence to a minimum, and perform the procedure in a relative bloodless field. Armed with the ability to cure prostate cancer more safely with surgery and with fewer side effects, radical prostatectomy was rapidly adopted and in the following decade death from prostate cancer declined by 40%.

PMID:
23321869
DOI:
10.1097/SCS.0b013e318270fbe0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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