Dr Geoff Coughlin is Australia’s most experienced robotic cystectomy surgeon. He has been performing the procedure since 2011. He performed Australia’s first robotic cystectomy with neobladder creation and Australia’s first completely intracorporeal robotic urinary diversion. He has published outcomes in peer reviewed journals on his first 100 robotic cystectomies and published his technique on robotic W-shaped orthotopic ileal neobladder formation.
For patients with aggressive bladder cancer, radical cystectomy—surgical removal of the entire bladder plus the regional lymph nodes—remains the gold standard for treatment. The procedure may require removal of nearby organs as well, in order to provide cancer control. In women, this may include removal of the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and part of the vagina. In men, it may include removal of the prostate, seminal vesicles and part of the vas deferens.
Open surgery, requiring an incision stretching from the belly button (or higher) down to the pubic bone, has traditionally been considered preferable to laparoscopy for radical cystectomies, due to the technically challenging nature of the surgery. But robotic radical cystectomy is now emerging as a viable alternative for bladder cancer patients, since the enhanced visualization and control of the da Vinci surgical robot affords the surgeon a level of precision comparable, or even superior, to that of open surgery. Robotic surgery also offers other advantages, particularly in terms of less intra-operative blood loss. It also offers the trauma-sparing benefits of minimally invasive surgery.
Depending on the stage of the bladder cancer, treatment may also include chemotherapy or radiation therapy. In treating bladder cancer, Dr Geoff Coughlin always work closely with medical oncologists employing a team approach.