Urologist and laparoscopic surgeon Dr. Greggory Pinto is set to make history in The Bahamas as he is scheduled to perform the first laparoscopic minimally invasive radical prostatectomy at Doctors Hospital on Wednesday.
The surgery will be the first of a series of surgeries conducted from Wednesday to Friday.
Pinto is previously known for conducting the country’s first artificial urethral sphincter surgery on December 12, 2017.
Laparoscopic minimally invasive radical prostatectomy is a curative, nerve-sparing surgery for prostate cancer. The duration of the surgery depends on various factors but is typically between four to six hours.
Pinto, who studied in Germany, France, India and most notably at Groote Schuur Hospital in South Africa, the site of the world’s first heart transplant, said that the procedure far exceeds its predecessor, open radical prostatectomy.
“It’s curative surgery for prostate cancer,” Pinto said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian on Saturday.
“[It is] minimally invasive in that we use keyhole, tiny incisions using long precise surgical instruments, to do the surgery [and] looking on a four-dimensional screen.
“We put in a small little camera [and] everything is done via the image on the screen.
“In that way, because there’s no big cut through every muscle layer, there’s no long recovery afterward.
“Within hours of the surgery, they’re up out of bed walking around. They’re out of hospital a lot quicker, reliant on less pain medications, back to the normalcy of their life, back to work and their regular activities a lot quicker than the big cut.”
Current U.S. statistics show that one in six men worldwide will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
Pinto said that Bahamian men are even more at risk due to being of African ancestry, which increases the chances of an earlier, more aggressive form of prostate cancer, obesity and alcohol intake.
He added that the minimally invasive surgery is nerve-sparing, which allows men to retain their ability to have normal erections, which in the case of 60 to 70 percent of open prostate surgeries, men report worse erections or none at all.
“The goal of prostate curative surgery is to do three things, it’s called the trifecta,” Pinto said.
“We want to make sure that, of course, someone is cancer free, that we’ve removed all of the cancer and it’s not going to come back.
“Also, that we maintain the erections so that the nerves are not destroyed, stretched or disrupted so that someone will have the same erections before operation [and] after.
“And that there [are] not complications in regards to any urinary issues.
“We don’t want anyone leaking urine or every time they cough [or] sneeze they leak urine.”
Pinto said he aims to make the minimally invasive procedure the standard in The Bahamas.
He said he wants to save people from unnecessary death or taking radical steps to finance surgeries overseas.
The aim, according to Pinto, is to remove the stigma surrounding prostate cancer, as it is commonly thought of as a sentence of castration at best or death at worst.
As far as cost, Pinto said that the surgery is covered by all insurances and is available at Princess Margaret Hospital.