Recovering From A Radical Prostatectomy



The radical prostatectomy is a procedure performed to treat prostate cancer or benign prostate hyperplasia. It entails the complete or partial removal of the prostate gland in the male reproductive system. Prostate glands are an integral part of the male reproductive system. They are a walnut-shaped sack-like gland just below the urinary bladder. The gland helps nourish the sperm during ejaculation of seminal fluid from the prostate to the urethra. Men above 50 are prone to prostate cancer, which can result in radical prostatectomy.

surgery process

How Is the Surgery Performed?

Currently, the most popular mode of surgery is robotic radical prostatectomy. Doctors may advise radical prostatectomy when the cancer cells are confined to the glands and are not in the surrounding areas inside the body. Along with the prostate gland, surgeons may remove other structures such as:

1. Vas deferens
2. Seminal Vesicles
3. Pelvic Lymph Nodes


What Causes Prostate Cancer?

Genetic mutations cause prostate cancer. One may inherit these mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes from their parents. However, genetic mutations are also acquired through poor diet, exposure to carcinogens, age, and lifestyle. Prostate cancer causes the cells in the gland to metastasize, or to become cancerous. It results in the abnormal growth of the glands, which may lead to painful urination, blood in semen or urine, and even erectile dysfunction.


Preparing For Surgery

Doctors will check your health thoroughly before suggesting the surgery. As such, they may run tests for heart issues, diabetes, lung problems, or high blood pressure. Some tests that they may run include blood tests, a biopsy of the prostate (most important before the surgery), CT or MRI scan.


Post-Operative Care

Immediate Care

After undergoing a robotic radical prostatectomy, patients will usually have to spend 3-5 days in the hospital. The patient has a catheter inserted through his urethra or a tube from the bladder coming out through your abdomen. Patients might experience some pain. Nurses may clean incisions near the surgery site.

One Week Later

For the first one or two weeks, the catheter remains in place, and is attached to an external collection bag. The catheter keeps your urine flowing until the swelling from the procedure goes down. After 7 to 10 days, the catheter will be removed by your doctor. Around this time, you may also expect your doctor to round up your final pathology results. This practice determines whether you will need further treatment or not.

The Next Few Weeks

Patients who have undergone this surgery should avoid vigorous activities such as running, climbing stairs, or exercises for at least six weeks.

The First Month

Most men cannot regain urinary control for the next two months after surgery. Since it is difficult to gain control after surgery, it is important to use an adult urinary pad for some months. However, men may still face some side effects in the month following the surgery date. They may include erectile dysfunction and urine leaking. Patients are cleared to return to work after a month or so, depending on how their recovery is progressing. Physical activity helps one to recover continence.

Three Months

After three months, your doctor may recommend a PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) test. The result of the PSA test will help to determine whether you need further treatment. Additionally, this test is conducted after every three months for up to two years.

6 Months – 1 Year

On average, it takes six months for the cavernosal nerves (nerves that help in a penile erection) to recover. Patients can resume sexual activity once they can maintain erections. Although your sex life may resume, a major change after Radical prostatectomy is the absence of semen during orgasm.


Bottom Line

Radical prostatectomy has become a simple surgery when done with the assistance of robot. With the right post-operative care, patients can get back on their feet in no time.

Disclaimer: Please note: this blog post is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the guidance of your personal physician. Please consult a medical professional if you have any concerns after reading this or other blog posts on this website.