Urology is a surgical specialty focusing on the urinary tract system and male reproductive system. The urinary tract removes waste and extra fluid from the body. It includes the kidneys, thin muscular tubes called ureters, bladder, and urethra. The male reproductive system includes the prostate gland, penis, and testicles. It deals with sex characteristics and reproduction.
Urologists diagnose and treat all conditions affecting these systems. This can include infections, blockages, cancers, enlargements, incontinence, and sexual problems. They have expertise in medical management as well as surgical treatments when needed.
Some common conditions that may lead a urologist to recommend surgery include:
In open surgery, the surgeon makes a large 5-10 inch incision in the lower abdomen or side to access the organs directly. The organs can then be fully visualized and operated on. However, open surgery typically requires a longer hospitalization, recovery period, and increased pain compared to minimally invasive techniques.
Minimally invasive surgery aims to avoid a major incision through delicate areas. Instead, it’s performed through a few small 0.5-1 inch incisions. Special cameras and instruments are inserted through the incisions. This approach can result in shorter hospital stays, less pain, low blood loss, and faster recovery.
In laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon operates while viewing a magnified screen. Long rigid instruments with scissors, graspers, etc are used. The CO2 gas inflating the abdomen can occasionally cause post-op shoulder pain.
Robotic-assisted surgery uses the da Vinci Surgical System. This provides a 3D view and dexterous miniaturized instruments that mimic the motion of a wrist. The surgeon sits at a console controlling the instruments remotely.
Choosing your surgeon is an important decision. Look for the following qualifications:
Do not hesitate to ask questions and interview potential surgeons before choosing the one you trust.
In the weeks before your surgery, you’ll need to:
Follow all instructions closely leading up to your procedure. This helps avoid delays or cancellation.