Abu Dhabi: Surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi have installed the UAE’s first artificial urinary sphincter to cure incontinence, following life-saving prostate cancer surgery.
The device is the latest in a series of innovations introduced at the hospital to help improve patients’ quality of life and a new addition to its range of treatments for cancer patients in recovery.
For patients with prostate cancer, one of the most effective treatments is to surgically remove the prostate. While this can effectively cure the condition, some patients may experience complications, including urinary incontinence, as a result of damage to the tissue surrounding the prostate.
“Incontinence can destroy a person’s confidence, making them retreat into themselves. Offering those prostate cancer patients who experience these complications a cure is important in restoring their dignity. The surgical implant device is another important tool for the wider range of treatment options we are able to offer cancer patients to help their recovery,” says Dr. Zaki Almallah, the urologist who performed the surgery.
The device, an artificial urinary sphincter, is an implant that uses an inflatable cuff to prevent urine from leaking through the patient’s urethra. The opening and closing of the cuff can be controlled using a pump inserted under the skin so that the patient can press the pump to open the cuff and empty their bladder.
“After I had surgery for my prostate cancer, I realized I could no longer control my bladder. As a relatively young man, I just couldn’t accept my new reality. I really felt embarrassed and anxious outside of my home, worrying people might notice,” says Salem Al Jaashani. “Since Dr. Zaki installed this device, I feel like a new person. I am finally able to enjoy the life I had before my cancer diagnosis.”
Thanks to advances in technology and diagnostics, patients are being diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier than ever before. While earlier diagnosis has helped improve outcomes for patients, it has also meant that the possibly life-altering complications arising from the treatment affect people at a younger age.
Artificial urinary sphincters have been shown to be highly effective in treating incontinence. A study co-authored by Dr. Almallah during his practice in the UK showed that more than 80% of patients who received the implant experienced a total or significant reduction in their incontinence, with a further 19% reporting a good improvement.
“Being able to treat cancer effectively is wonderful, but in addition to saving a person’s life, it’s important that we can also provide them with a good quality of life afterwards,” concludes Dr. Almallah.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s current cancer services include Positron Emission Tomography and Computed Tomography (PET-CT) for cancer diagnoses, and minimally invasive robotic surgery for their treatments. In certain cases, the hospital complements its advanced surgical offerings with chemotherapy.