University Hospital launches single port robotic surgery for treatment of urological cancers

Newark’s University Hospital, New Jersey’s academic medical center and the principal teaching hospital for Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, recently performed the first single-port robotic radical prostatectomy and single-port robotic partial nephrectomy. These significant milestones in robotic-based, minimally invasive surgery, and treatment of urological cancers, follow the introduction of the transperineal MRI-Ultrasound fusion biopsy technique for prostate cancer diagnosis at UH last year. The Hospital is one of three acute care hospitals in New Jersey to offer single-port robotic surgery as an alternative to more traditional surgical options.

“As an academic medical center that is partnered with an on-site medical school, dental school and health sciences center, University Hospital is proud to provide high quality patient care, move science to discovery, and train the next generation of medical professionals,” Ed Jimenez, president and CEO of University Hospital said. “As part of our commitment to offer the latest technological advancements to our patients, University Hospital is excited to introduce this latest option in robotic-assisted surgery to the Newark community and the region.”

Single-port robotic surgery for urologic cancers is an extension of laparoscopic surgery, which are procedures completed through small incisions in the abdomen. The single-port procedure takes this a step further by enabling access of the necessary surgical instruments through a single, two-inch incision. The state-of-the-art robotic technology from Intuitive allows the surgical instruments to enter the body together, before moving to their required positions within the abdominal cavity.

The first single-port robotic surgeries for urological cancers at University Hospital were performed by Dr. Evan Kovac, an associate professor and member of the Department of Surgery, Division of Urology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a member of the University Hospital Medical Staff. He was supported by the Division Chief, Dr. Robert Weiss. The advanced technique is now available to patients as a service option for the treatment of urological cancers, including prostate and kidney cancer.

In addition to faster recovery and reduced surgical pain, the single-port robotic surgery approach offers better cosmetic results, reduced blood loss during surgery, and shorter hospital stays.

“The positive elements of single-port surgery are numerous and extend beyond patient care,” Kovac said. “Larger and more numerous incisions lead to longer hospital stays, greater pain, and a need for stronger pain medications, all of which we, as medical professionals, are working to reduce or eliminate. With this single-port robotic surgery technique, we are working to get patients home the same day, allowing patients to recover at home and reduce the stress on the healthcare system.”

In addition to single-port robotic surgery, the transperineal prostate biopsy procedure, introduced in August 2022, allows practitioners to collect a better cross-section of prostate tissue samples via the perineum, lowering the rate of post-procedure infection and enhanced accuracy. Tissue samples are taken systematically under ultrasound guidance, utilizing 3-dimensional MRI-based fusion technology by Koelis to better target potential problem areas in the prostate for sample and analysis. UH was the first hospital in New Jersey to offer this technology.

“We now have a comprehensive service line for the evaluation and treatment of prostate cancer,” Kovac says. “We offer risk-adapted screening, state-of-the-art diagnostics and the latest in minimally invasive surgery for prostate cancer, and other urologic cancers. We are leading the way in order to improve urologic cancer outcomes in our community.”