Bob's story - Same-day robotic-assisted prostatectomy


Bob Wong - Dr. Robert Reiter patient story

Same-day robotic-assisted prostatectomy at UCLA - Patient reports quick recovery: Back to work, the gym and golf in weeks

When Bob Wong was deciding on a surgeon after his prostate cancer diagnosis, he made an analogy in his mind to basketball. “I’m putting the surgeon at the free-throw line in the game of my life,” Mr. Wong explains. “He has one shot to make the basket and win the game.”

For such a critical moment, Mr. Wong wanted a surgeon with the utmost skill and experience – and in this case, a surgeon with superior outcomes in same-day robotic-assisted prostatectomy, a minimally invasive procedure in which patients don’t need to spend even a single night in the hospital. Mr. Wong’s search led him to Dr. Robert Reiter, a world-renowned urologist specializing in robotic-assisted prostatectomy at UCLA. Dr. Reiter agreed to do a same-day prostate surgery for Mr. Wong, who would have to travel from Nevada to UCLA for the procedure.

Shortly after he turned 40, Bob Wong had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was young for such a diagnosis, but it didn’t come as a total shock. Mr. Wong’s father had been diagnosed at an early age, so as a precautionary measure, Mr. Wong began having his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels tested beginning in his 30s. As he approached 40, the annual blood tests showed a gradual rise in PSA, with a more dramatic spike around Mr. Wong’s 40th birthday. A biopsy confirmed that in the prime of his life, he had prostate cancer.

Mr. Wong felt robbed, but he vowed to find the right treatment and the right surgeon to give himself the best odds for a long-term cure while minimizing his chances for complications and recurrence. He had a lot of living left to do.

Dr. Reiter and UCLA differed from the other surgeons and medical centers Mr. Wong visited. Dr. Reiter took an extra preparatory step, ordering a special magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test the day before the surgery to pinpoint exactly where the cancer was. He learned that the tumor had leeched to the edge of the prostate, which meant Dr. Reiter would need to remove the adjacent tissue. Previous tests had not revealed this important detail – information that led Dr. Reiter to take a precautionary measure that Mr. Wong believes proved lifesaving.

Mr. Wong got to UCLA at 5 AM on the day of the surgery. He was released by the afternoon to have dinner in his hotel room with his wife. “Dr. Reiter did an excellent job,” he says. “He performed the surgery in an hour and half with no complications and no pain after. That’s pretty good for a major operation.”

Dr. Reiter had caught the cancer just in time – before it could spread to adjacent organs. The post-operation PSA test was clear of cancer. The next day, Mr. Wong and his wife were out running errands around Los Angeles. They were surprised to find that he had a full appetite when eating at a Korean buffet that night. Mr. Wong was happily back to work in a week and a half, back to the gym in two weeks and back on the golf course a mere month after his same-day robotic prostatectomy at UCLA.