No one likes to be in the hospital longer than needed. Now, a fast-track approach to prostate cancer surgery using a combination of existing techniques may help men get home within 24 hours of having their prostates removedwithout putting them at extra risk of complications.
That finding, from a study comparing a fast-track prostate surgery pathway with a standard approach that keeps patients in the hospital for up to three days, was presented at the American Urological Associations annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., by researchers from the Comprehensive Cancer Center. Its the first study of its kind.
The U-Ms 24-hour approach stood up to the prospective comparison well, yielding high patient satisfaction rates and low complication rates almost exactly like those seen with standard care, says senior author Martin Sanda, associate professor of surgery, of urology and of internal medicine, and associate director of the Health Systems prostate cancer program.
Sanda and his colleagues devised the pathway, which uses epidural anesthesia, non-narcotic pain relief and tailored patient education materials to help early-stage prostate cancer patients get home sooner, just as safely and with less expense. They then compared it prospectively with standard care in 153 patients operated on in the year 2000 by two U-M surgeons.
The U-M treatment approach doesnt rely on any medical advancejust coordinated use of a lower-body epidural anesthesia that avoids the hangover effect of general anesthesia, non-narcotic pain drugs such as ketorolac and ibuprofen that allow the patient to be more alert and active soon after surgery, and specially developed education materials.