01. March 2020

The "Mona Lisa" robot is saving lives

Around 6'100 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Switzerland every year. The "Mona Lisa" is being used for early detection of prostate cancer at University Hospital Basel.

 

Around 6,100 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Switzerland every year. This makes prostate cancer the most common form of cancer overall – and it accounts for 28 percent of cancer diagnoses in men. It should be noted that almost all patients are over 50 years of age at the time of diagnosis, while 47 percent are 70 years of age or older.

To date there is no known way to prevent prostate cancer, but early and precise detection can certainly save lives. The "Mona Lisa" robot is now being used for early detection of prostate cancer at University Hospital Basel.

"Mona Lisa" combines X-ray and ultrasound images

Prostate tumours cause minor symptoms over a long period of time. When the urethra is constricted, patients have problems urinating, experiencing an excessively weak urine stream, a frequent need to use the toilet, or pain while urinating.

The patient visits the doctor and has an X-ray. If an abnormality is spotted, a biopsy is arranged. The “Mona Lisa” robot is helping with this now. The X-ray images taken by the radiology department can be compared in real time with the “Mona Lisa” ultrasound images.

"The ‘Mona Lisa’ robot can then directly target the areas of the prostate that the radiologist has already identified as suspicious," Helge Seifert (Picture), Head Doctor of Urology, told Telebasel.

 

Precise and gentle for the patient

The procedure is carried out under a very strong anaesthetic – sedation – or under general anaesthetic. "This means that the patient feels nothing during the procedure. After the operation, a small plaster is put on the perineum and there is slight pain in the wound, which can be treated with a completely harmless painkiller," says Seifert.

The patient has to undergo two incisions in total and the operation is all over after around 20 minutes. The samples are sent to the laboratory and the results can be discussed with the patient after a short time. It’s also reassuring to know that the robot takes very precise samples and thus reduces the risk of infection.