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Home Industry News Surgeons slow to learn prostate cancer surgery techniques

Surgeons slow to learn prostate cancer surgery techniques

1st April 2009

Prostate cancer patients are being put at increased risk as some surgeons are struggling to learn new surgical techniques, new research claims.

A report published in the Lancet Oncology suggests medical professionals who operate on patients with prostate cancer find it harder to learn the skills needed for surgery with a laparoscope compared to traditional techniques.

The study claims the skills needed for laparoscopy, also known as keyhole surgery, were harder to pick up for surgeons who already had previous experience of traditional prostate surgery.

The researchers found surgeons who already had experience of traditional prostate surgery had substantially worse results in terms of cancer recurrence when they first switched to doing surgery using a laparoscope than those whose first experience of prostate surgery was using the technique.

“Improvements in outcome seem to accrue more slowly in comparison with open [traditional] surgery,” the authors write, adding that “laparoscopic radical prostatectomy appears to involve skills that do not translate well from open experience.”

The researchers conclude: “Clinical, educational and research initiatives are required in order to moderate the negative effects of the learning curve on clinical care.”

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