Pros and cons of robot-assisted prostate surgery: Drs. Oz and Roizen –

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and I've decided to have my prostate removed, a radical prostatectomy. My doctors advise having it done robotically. Is a robot the right way to go?
First of all, a robot doesn't do the surgery, the surgeon does. The robot is just a sophisticated tool for the doc to use. And as with many tools, this one has pluses and minuses.
The robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is minimally invasive, as is nonrobotic laparoscopic prostate surgery. Only one or two small incisions are made for the whole operation. This means less risk of infection, less pain, reduced blood loss and faster recovery. The robotic system does provide the surgeon with a magnified, 3-D view of the entire area around the prostate so the doc can remove, with great precision, cancerous tissue without damaging surrounding nerves. (But again, the skill is in the surgeon, not the machine.)
Some studies report robotic surgery is associated with earlier return of urinary function and an improved outlook for potency over the traditional "open" prostatectomy, but most important, improved cancer control. Other studies find no difference or a better outcome without the robot. And with a robot, the operation may take 50 percent longer to complete, and you're exposed to more anesthesia and other drugs.
Your best bet is to ask your surgeon about his or her outcomes and rate of complications. Not providing outcome information? Get another surgeon. Then decide whose hands you want to trust — with or without a robot — in the OR.
Help with deciphering food labels
Steering kids clear of sugary, chemical-laden treats requires more skill than tightrope walking. And what about products that seem good but contain hidden nutritional bombs?
We want to help you decipher food labels on produce and packaged food. Smart reading will tell you where it's from, if it's genetically modified and what food colorings, fats, sugars and preservatives are in it. So take note: that little tag on fruits and vegetables holds a world of info.
• A four-digit code starting with the number 4 means conventionally grown and may have been sprayed with synthetic pesticides; not genetically modified.
• A five-digit code beginning with 9 equals organic; not genetically modified.
• A five-digit code starting with an 8? Genetically modified produce.
To know what's in your other food purchases, go for a smart app. Fooducate (for Androids) and Good Guide (from iTunes) are free mobile apps that scan bar codes and tell you what's in that sports drink, canned soup, cupcake or frozen meal. And they offer healthy alternatives.
Kids love the game of it, and they'll learn firsthand why you say, "No, we're not buying that!"
Better yet, soon they'll be saying it, too.
is chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and co-founder and chairman of the RealAge Scientific Advisory Board.
is a professor and vice chairman of surgery at Columbia University, as well as medical director of the Integrated Medicine Center and director of the Heart Institute at New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center. To submit questions and find ways to grow younger and healthier, go to
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