Technology touches every aspect of your life, much of which can fit in your pocket. Not long ago, self-driving cars were just a dream. However, artificial intelligence does not match the automation of the human body. When you’re fit and feeling good, your body runs like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, highly automated systems come with the difficulty of preventing, diagnosing and correcting malfunctions (health conditions).
One of the challenges that most men will face is a prostate condition. The prostate is a small organ located below the bladder. Along with the testicles, its only job is to produce the fluid needed for reproduction. Although the pesky prostate serves no other purpose, it is surrounded by delicate structures that provide urinary and sexual function. Fortunately, medical technology advancements help protect these functions, often by doing less.
The most common prostate condition is enlargement that restricts urine flow (urine flows through the prostate as it exits the bladder). Frequent daytime and nighttime urination often accompany this decreased flow. A simple daily medication can usually manage these symptoms. However, surgery may be the best solution when the urinary obstruction persists. In the past, surgical removal of the center of the prostate was the only option. Now, simple alternatives include procedures that either shrink the prostate with heat (Rezum®) or pull the prostate open with suture (UroLift®). These easier options seldom have any ill effect on precious sexual and urinary functions.
Unfortunately, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Many men are reluctant to seek diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer because they fear the effects of treatment on their urinary and sexual function. Enter modern technology. MRI scans, PET scans and molecular testing of blood and tissue samples not only help physicians know how and where to treat, but also those who may not need any treatment.
When treatment for prostate cancer is needed, the latest methods bring next-level precision to protect the delicate nerves and muscles surrounding the prostate. For instance, the 20-year evolution of robotic surgery has made a recent leap with the da Vinci Single Port (SP) robot, which allows all four robotic instruments to enter the treatment area through one single incision instead of four. Not only does this advancement speed recovery, but it also facilitates less traumatic access to spaces that were previously very difficult to reach.
Although these technologies do not fit into your pocket (yet), they certainly benefit the important stuff between your pockets. Look for my article, “Men’s Health Spring Cleaning,” in the next issue.
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA, is Wellstar’s Medical Director of Urology and of Robotic Surgery. He has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years and sees patients at Wellstar Urology in Roswell, Wellstar North Fulton Hospital and Wellstar Avalon Health Park. Wellstar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious conditions. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Scott D. Miller, MD, MBA • Wellstar North Fulton Hospital 470-956-4230 • www.scottdmillermd.com