About Dr. Porter
“I had prostate cancer when I was 43 and chose robotic surgery to treat it. This turned out to be a priceless experience because I now know what my patients experience and I realize they have one chance at an optimal outcome. I bring this mindset to every procedure I perform. This has made me a more empathetic and better surgeon.”
~Dr. James Porter
Dr. James Porter is the most experienced surgeon using the da Vinci robotic system in the Pacific Northwest.
He has completed more than 3000 procedures using the robotic da Vinci System, making him one of the top five practitioners in the nation. He specializes primarily in prostate, kidney cancer procedures, and urinary constructive procedures. He also performs urinary constructive procedures and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection for the treatment of testicular cancer.
Dr. Porter is currently the medical director for robotic surgery at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, where he also directs the Robotic and Laparoscopic Fellowship in Urology. In addition, he serves as Director of Robotics for Providence Health and Services. Before joining the Swedish Urology Group, he served as chief of urology at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and subsequently as head of laparoscopic and robotic surgery in the Department of Urology at the University of Washington Medical Center.
Dr. Porter graduated from the Medical College of Ohio and completed his residency in urology at the University of Washington. He went on to become a faculty member of the Department of Urology at the University of Washington where he achieved the level of Associate Professor. He received his laparoscopic training in Heilbronn, Germany, under the directorship of Professor Jens J. Rassweiler and returned to be the first surgeon in the Northwest to use the laparoscopic approach for Prostatectomy, donor nephrectomy, partial nephrectomy, and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. Dr. Porter pioneered the Robotic Retroperitoneal approach and completed the first Retroperitoneal Robotic Refractory.
A passionate mentor, Dr. Porter actively teaches and promotes minimally invasive surgical techniques to the national and international urologic community. He is a leading global proponent of the da Vinci System, which gives surgeons enhanced vision, precision and control. He has instructed thousands of urology surgeons in advanced robotic techniques both national and internationally. The potential benefits over open surgery for prostate or kidney treatment include a shorter hospital stay; reduced pain, less blood loss and decreased risk of infection; and a faster return to normal activities.
Similar to pilots preparing for the cockpit, robotics and simulation will become key components of how the next generation of surgeons are trained and will shorten the learning curve. As the number of training centers grow, and robotics become standard, Dr Porter believes that success requires education, research, technical analysis, and data collection to track and learn from results. Above all, the hallmark of a successful robotics practice is a team working together and consistently over time.
The American Urology Association has invited Dr. Porter to present multiple times to plenary sessions about robotic techniques and best practices. He also currently serves as the President of the international Society of Urologic Robotic Surgeons.
Dr. Porter decided to pursue urology while on the golf course as a 14-year-old in Toledo, Ohio. Dr. Kenneth Kropp, head of urology at the Medical College of Ohio, inspired his young caddy by encouraging him to find a profession he would want to do every day and forever, even if he did it for free.
“I have dedicated my professional life to easing the suffering of patients who undergo surgery and to teach future surgeons the same approach and commitment,” says Dr. Porter. “It’s an honor every day to come to work and have the opportunity to extend lives
Dr. Porter lives in Seattle with his wife and teenage daughter, and enjoys traveling with his family, gardening and playing golf.