Prostatectomy: Pioneering Research Gives Patients More Treatment Options
Urology has a number of white knights that have led crusades against many debilitating urologic disorders. But perhaps none is more heroic than those innovative surgeons who have led the way in treating prostate cancer.
Without the pioneering spirit of a Theodore Billroth or a Hugh Hampton Young, who adapted their prostatectomies for malignancies, men with early tumors could not choose surgery as a treatment. Without the curiosity of a Patrick C. Walsh, who investigated the gland's anatomy and crafted nerve-sparing surgical techniques, they might still face the devastating side effects of previous operations.
In fact, before Walsh debuted his revolutionary nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy in 1982, prostate cancer sufferers faced an unenviable choice: Undergo surgical removal of the gland and surrounding tissue but risk incontinence and impotence, or choose a treatment that spared the complications but didn't necessarily remove the disease completely.