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Radical Prostatectomy


Updated August 29, 2006

Prostate removal for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. It is estimated that 230,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Approximately 30,000 men die each year of prostate cancer. There are a number of treatment options; one of them is a radical prostatectomy.

A radical prostatectomy is generally recommended for men whose cancer is localized and confined to the prostate. Men should be in good health and have a life expectancy of ten years or more. Most surgeons perform either a retropubic or perineal prostatectomy.
Retropubic: The prostate gland is removed through an incision in the lower abdomen.
Perineal: The prostate gland is removed through an incision between the rectum and base of the penis.

A radical prostatectomy is performed under either a spinal or general anesthesia. A radical prostatectomy removes the entire prostate gland plus some of the surrounding tissue.

Survival rates depend on the stage of the cancer. Survival rates are highest in early stage cancer.

Postoperative information after Radical prostatectomy

  • Postoperatively you are encouraged to mobilize quickly with help

  • You can have a regular diet

  • Oral painkillers (analgesia) can be used for postoperative pain.
  • The wound should be cleaned and dressing changed as instructed. The catheter remains in place to drain fluid and urine for 7 to 10 days. Pelvic muscle exercises to help reduce incontinence.

    Risks associated with radical prostatectomy
    Erectile dysfunction.
    About 70 to 80% experience erection problems after a radical prostatectomy. Erectile dysfunction is most common in older men who have a radical prostatectomy.

    Urinary incontinence
    Over 30% of men who have radical prostatectomy develop urinary incontinence. This type of incontinence ranges from occasional dribbling during activities to severe incontinence in about 2% and 5% of men post operatively. Incontinence improves in over 90% of men 6 months after having a prostatectomy.
    Treatment may be required for incontinence after prostatectomy if urinary incontinence continues over a year.

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