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Prostate Gland Removal: The procedure, risks, complications, preparations

  • Posted on- Aug 06, 2016
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A Prostate Gland Removal or Prostatectomy is a surgical procedure that involves a partial or complete removal of the prostate gland. This procedure is predominantly performed to treat prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia (a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate). The Prostatectomy procedure involves the prostate gland, urethra, urinary bladder, and rectum.

Why a prostate gland removal surgery is performed?

The Prostatectomy procedure is performed for the following reasons:

How a prostate gland removal surgery is performed?

  • The Prostate Gland Removal procedure may be performed under a general or spinal anaesthesia.
  • The surgeon makes an incision on the skin of the abdomen extending from below the belly button, up till the pubic bone
  • After dissecting through the layers of the abdomen, the surgeon may perform either a Simple or Radical Prostatectomy depending on the indication for surgery
  • A Simple Prostatectomy is done to treat a benign enlargement of the prostate and only the inner part of the gland is removed. The outer remaining portion of the prostate gland is sutured together
  • In a Radical Prostatectomy, the entire prostate gland along with the sac-like organs called the seminal vesicles, are also removed. The surgeon may also remove the lymph nodes (collection of immune cells) to look for cancer spread
  • A drain is left in place to drain any fluid collection after the surgery
  • The procedure may also be done laparoscopically. The surgeon makes multiple small incisions on the abdomen to pass a tube fitted with a camera and surgical instruments to perform the procedure

A urologist performs the prostatectomy surgical procedure. It may take anywhere between 2-4 hours for a simple prostatectomy, while a radical procedure may take about 3-4 hours to perform.

Preparations needed before a prostate gland removal surgery

  • The physician may evaluate the individual’s medical history to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the overall health status of the patient including information related to the medications that are currently being taken
  • Some medications increase a person’s chances of bleeding and it may be recommended to discontinue them for a period of time before the procedure is performed
  • Blood tests may be performed to determine if there is a bleeding tendency or any other medical conditions that prevents the person from undergoing the procedure
  • Inform the physician if you are allergic to any local anesthetics, lidocaine, etc.
  • Avoid application of any cosmetics, deodorant, or topical medicines on the area prior to the procedure
  • It is advisable to quit smoking and the use of any nicotine based products for a while before the surgery
  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks must also be avoided for a period of time, as instructed
  • The patient must avoid eating or drinking at least 8 hours prior to the surgical procedure, depending on when the procedure is arranged
  • For individuals suffering from diabetes, it is important that the blood sugar stays within the normal range if not, their diabetologist may have to control blood sugar by recommending insulin or a combination of oral medicines

Diagnostic lab tests needed before a prostate gland removal surgery

Before a prostatectomy, the patient has to undergo certain tests such as:

Risks and complications after prostate gland removal surgical procedure

The possible risks and complications that may arise after the prostatectomy procedure are:

Post-operative care needed after prostate gland removal surgical procedure At home, the following post-operative care is recommended after a prostatectomy procedure:
  • Slowly resume daily activities as early as possible, which aids in faster recovery
  • Use a heat pad or warm compress to relieve pain due to the incision
  • Avoid all activities that are physically strenuous for about 6 weeks after the surgery (per physician’s advice)
  • Resume showering and keep the wound clean and dry. Avoid taking baths until the surgical wound is completely healed. Gently wash the surgical wound with mild unscented soap
  • Elevate legs while resting to prevent the formation of blood clots and reduce the possibility of swelling
  • Complete the course of prescribed medication, as advised by your physician
  • Take stool softeners to prevent constipation, under advice of the physician
  • Take antibiotic medication to help combat or prevent infection, per your physician’s advice
  • Avoid taking non-prescription medications such as aspirin. However, individuals may take acetaminophen to relieve pain (per the physician’s advice)
  • Resume driving 1 week after being discharged from the hospital or when follow your physician’s instruction
  • Avoid sex till a complete healing has taken place (as advised by your physician)
  • Individuals are advised to have to clear liquids immediately after the surgery, until the gastrointestinal tract begins properly functioning. The individuals may then proceed to eat a well-balanced diet, which can aid in a faster recovery. It is better to avoid fluids or spicy foods that may worsen symptoms
  • Also increasing one’s fluid intake can help prevent constipation and stress during bowel movements and urination


user profile image
03-03-2018 12:46 PM

I had my prostate removed 4 years ago because of cancer. I had bladder control problems for the first three months. But with prostatectomy I was able to control my bladder.

user profile image
29-09-2017 06:26 PM

My father in law suffered from incontinence for many years, after prostate surgery. He was diagnosed in his early 60s and his doctor emphasized surgery as the "best method" of treatment indicating that even though it was a more invasive approach, it was the most successful.

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