Things You Should Expect After Prostate Surgery
Prostate removal is a major type of surgery and requires time for the body to recover. Even though robotic prostatectomy using the Da Vinci robot has less severe effects on the body and the patient can leave the hospital the same day, men should expect some changes in order to know how to deal with them. The surgery is performed through small incisions that are barely sensitive at the incision sites and the scar tissue is almost unnoticeable. Typically, the recovery is fast, most men are able to go home the next day and resume driving and working in two to three weeks after the surgery.
In the immediate hours after surgery:
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Are There Differences Between Orp Lrp And Ralrp
According to a 2010 of different surgery types for prostate cancer, the outcomes for open radical prostatectomy , laparoscopic , and robotic-assisted prostatectomy are not significantly different.
But people who choose LRP and RALRP may experience:
- less blood loss
- shorter hospital stay
- faster recovery time
Also, people who choose RALRP report faster recovery in continence and decreased hospital stay, in comparison to LRP. But the overall outcomes still depend on the surgeons experience and skill.
How To Return To An Active Sex Life After Prostate Cancer Treatment
No matter the cancer, treatments often cause side effects that affect patients quality of life. But with prostate cancer, the potential side effects can be particularly concerning to men who are trying to decide which approach is right for them. Surgery, radiation therapy and other treatments may impact a patients sex life, causing challenges like low sex drive, loss of penis length, dry orgasm or low sperm counts. Despite the angst these issues may cause, experts say most of these side effects can be managed and many men have a good chance of returning to a full sex life after prostate cancer treatment.
Unfortunately, sexual dysfunction is a possibility for nearly all treatment options for prostate cancer, including surgery, says Scott Shelfo, MD, FACS, Medical Director of Urology at our hospital near Atlanta. The degree of dysfunction depends on many factors, including the patients overall health, co-existing medical problems, as well as the patients level of sexual function and ability before treatment.
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Types Of Prostate Surgery
There are several ways of removing the prostate keyhole surgery either by hand or robot-assisted, and open surgery.
Although robot-assisted keyhole surgery is the newest technique, the most recent research suggests all three techniques are as good as each other for treating prostate cancer, as long as the surgeon is experienced. They also have similar rates of side effects.
The advantages of keyhole surgery, both by hand and robot-assisted, are that you are likely to lose less blood, have less pain, spend less time in hospital, and heal more quickly than with open surgery.
Keyhole surgery .
- Robot-assisted keyhole surgery Your surgeon makes five or six small cuts in your lower abdomen and a slightly bigger cut near your belly button, and removes the prostate using special surgical tools. These include a thin, lighted tube with a small camera on the tip. The image will appear on a screen so the surgeon can see what theyre doing. Your surgeon controls the tools from a console in the operating room via four or five robotic arms. Although its called robot-assisted, its still a surgeon who does the operation. You may hear the equipment called the da Vinci® Robot.
- Keyhole surgery by hand As with robot-assisted keyhole surgery, the surgeon will make four or five small cuts in your abdomen. But they will hold the surgical tools in their hands, rather than using robotic arms.
Enlarged Prostate Surgery: The Real Risks And Side Effects
Enlarged prostate surgery unfortunately has real risks and side effects that are often downplayed or minimized by urologists making you the guinea pig with very possible impotence and incontinence as a result.
Furthermore, you will often have to repeat the operation later on as your prostate continues to grow because the real causes of this prostate disease have not been addressed by radical surgeries.
Also known as a TURP surgery or BPH surgery, this is the gold standard of prostate surgeries for enlarged prostate symptoms.
TURP stands for Transurethral Resection of the Prostate. The surgery consists of passing a flexible instrument up your penis and into the prostate gland to shave off pieces of the prostate.
The bloody pieces are removed allowing more space for the urethra tube to pass urine from your bladder.
The operation is done under anesthesia and you will usually spend a couple of days recovering. You will have to wear a catheter for some time while you heal, and then it can be removed.
It would be great if that was all there was to it. Yet, its not so simple
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Side Effects From Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy for prostate cancer, known as androgen deprivation therapy , suppresses production of testosterone. ADT can cause several side effects. These include fatigue, hot flashes, decreased bone density, ED, depressed mood, decreased sex drive, weight gain, heart risks, breast growth and cognitive decline.
The severity and length of side effects depend on how long treatment lasts. “If a man has only six months of treatment, their level of testosterone rises again, and they’ll go back to feeling like themselves,” Calvaresi said.
Often, mood changes in men on ADT are caused by other side effects such as weight gain and hot flashes. “If we can manage those other side effects, then often that improves mood,” she said. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly often helps to decrease fatigue, prevent weight gain and improve overall mood. Before beginning hormone therapy, you should discuss the effects of ADT with your doctor, and talk about how you can change your exercise and eating habits to help head off side effects before they occur.
Where Does Prostate Cancer Spread
The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the bones. It can also spread to the lymph nodes, liver and lungs and other organs.
A large tumour in the prostate gland can spread into or press on areas around the prostate, such as the back passage or urethra. The urethra is the tube which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
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Staging Of Prostate Cancer
Doctors will use the results of your prostate examination, biopsy and scans to identify the “stage” of your prostate cancer .
The stage of the cancer will determine which types of treatments will be necessary.
If prostate cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the chances of survival are generally good.
Open Rp Versus Robotic
The ability to perform robotic-assisted laparoscopic RP was first described in 2000. Over the past decade, RALRP has gained widespread acceptance and now is the dominant approach to RP in the United States. Many attribute the adoption of the RALRP to marketing as opposed to any objective outcomes data showing superiority over the open approach.
All of the intermediate- and long-term HRQOL outcomes reported in the literature are limited to open RP. The question is, are these findings relevant to RALRP?
Unfortunately, there are no randomized studies comparing HRQOL outcomes following open versus robotic RP. The majority of studies comparing HRQOL outcomes between the two techniques are flawed in design. First, the level of experience of surgeons performing the two techniques and their patient volume are often not comparable. In addition, validated instruments for capturing outcomes are usually not employed. Surgeons are sometimes involved in the data acquisition, entry, and interpretation, which can introduce bias. There are several studies that have examined large administrative databases, which often mitigate bias, but the quality of outcome measures is subject to criticism. A few studies stand out as objective and worthy of comment.
Barocas and colleagues compared men undergoing open and RALRP and failed to show any advantages of either approach for preventing biochemical recurrence.
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What Are The Side Effects
The most common side effects of surgery are leaking urine and problems with getting or keeping an erection .
Your risk of getting these side effects depends on your overall health and age, how far the cancer has spread in and around the prostate and how likely it is to grow, and your surgeons skill and experience.
How To Manage Incontinence
There are multiple ways to manage incontinence:
- Pelvic floor muscle strengthening: Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help muscle strength and bladder control get better by doing exercises that tighten and relax muscles that control the flow of urine.
- Bladder training: This can help manage how often you need to urinate throughout the day by assigning certain time intervals to empty your bladder.
- Medicines: Some medications can help the muscles of the bladder and the muscles that control urine flow. Most of these drugs affect either the muscles or the nerves that control them. They work best for urge incontinence.
- Surgery: This may be used to correct long-term incontinence. It can remove blockage. Material such as collagen might be recommended and injected to tighten the muscle that controls urine flow. A small device called a urethral sling can also be implanted to press the urethra against the pubic bone. An artificial muscle controlled by a scrotal pump may be an option for men, and it’s implanted to squeeze the urethra.
- Incontinence products: They can help keep you active and comfortable. Adult briefs and undergarments are bulkier than pads worn under your clothing, but provide more protection. Bed pads or absorbent mattress covers can also be used to protect the bed linens and mattress.
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Other Possible Side Effects
Anorgasmia is the inability to achieve orgasm regardless of the level of stimulation.
2) Penile shrinkage
Removal of the prostate seems to initiate a phase of penile shrinkage that varies between 2 to 3 cm. For men with large organs, this may have little effect. But a man that starts on the small side might be very dismayed about it.
Early penile rehabilitation may avoid structural endothelial and smooth muscle damage by improving penile oxygenation.
3) Urine leakage or pain during intercourse
4) Urine leakage at orgasm
5) Pain or discomfort at orgasm
Urinary Problems After Surgery
Most men cant control their bladder properly when their catheter is first removed. This is because surgery can damage the muscles and nerves that control when you urinate.You might just leak a few drops if you exercise, cough or sneeze . Or you might leak more and need to wear absorbent pads, especially in the weeks after your surgery.Leaking urine usually improves with time. Most men start to see an improvement one to six months after surgery. Some men leak urine for a year or more and others never fully recover, but there are things that can help and ways you can manage it.
A few men may find it difficult to urinate after surgery . This can be caused by scarring around the opening of the bladder or the urethra .Some men find they suddenly and painfully cant urinate. This is called acute urine retention and it needs treating quickly to prevent further problems. If this happens, call your doctor or nurse, or go to your nearest accident and emergency department.
Watch Paul’s story for one man’s experience of managing urinary problems after surgery below.
Sexual problems after surgery
Change in penis size and shape
Changes to orgasm
The seminal vesicles, which make some of the fluid in semen, are removed during surgery. This means you wont ejaculate any more. You may have a dry orgasm instead where you feel the sensation of orgasm but dont ejaculate. This may feel different to the orgasms youre used to.
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How Will Sex After Prostate Cancer Be Different
One of the treatments of prostate cancer is to remove a portion of the prostate or the totality of the gland before cancer spreads beyond it You may have heard that the tumor is inside the capsule, but moving fast.
The procedure is known as radical prostatectomy and involves incisions, either above the perineum or on the lower abdomen.
Newer surgeries are sometimes robot-assisted, and we also have laparoscopic prostatectomies that do not require a large incision.
The end result is the removal of a portion or the totality of the prostate, and certain surgical approaches may be associated with a lower risk of nerve damage than others. Youll see this referred to as nerve-sparing prostatectomies throughout this guide.
As soon as a man is informed that he will need to go through a Radical Prostatectomy, the likelihood is that one of the very first questions will be about the effect that it will have on their sex life. In a lot of mens minds, the surgery is thought of like its castration.
However, now that there are multiple types of nerve-sparing prostate surgery, many men have found they can maintain sexual activity after surgery.
Likewise, there are plenty of sexual activities open to those who do find they still have the desire, even with some physical changes. We want to help you understand the changes that men can experience after prostate surgery, whether that is physical or mental.
For more information on prostate surgery, click here.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Surgery
What may be important for one person might be less important for someone else. The advantages and disadvantages of surgery may depend on your age, general health and the stage of your cancer.
- If the cancer is completely contained inside the prostate, surgery will remove all of the cancer.
- The prostate is looked at under a microscope to give a clearer picture of how aggressive your cancer is, whether it has spread outside your prostate and if you need further treatment.
- Your health professionals can get a good idea of whether your cancer was completely removed during surgery. Your PSA level should drop so low that its not possible to detect it at six to eight weeks after surgery.
- If there are signs that your cancer has come back or wasnt all removed, you may be able to have further treatment.
- Some men find it reassuring to know that their prostate has been physically removed, although you will still need to have follow-up tests to make sure no cancer cells have spread outside the prostate.
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Impotence After Prostate Surgery
In the past, up to 70 per cent of men who had their whole prostate removed because of cancer had some difficulty achieving an erection afterwards. This is because the prostate lies next to the nerves and blood vessels that are important for erections, and these nerves and vessels can be damaged during the operation. Newer surgical techniques that aim to spare the nerves associated with erectile function have reduced the risk of impotence.
While there is a still a significant risk of erectile dysfunction after prostate surgery, there is often a gradual improvement in erectile function over time. Some men only have short-lived erectile dysfunction and others continue to improve for up to 3 years.
What You Need To Know About Prostate Surgery
What is prostate surgery for?
The prostate is a gland located underneath the bladder, in front of the rectum. It plays an important role in the part of the male reproductive system that produces fluids that carry sperm.
Surgery for partial or complete removal of the prostate is called a prostatectomy. The most common causes for prostate surgery are prostate cancer and an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia .
Pretreatment education is the first step to making a decisions about your treatment. All types of prostate surgery can be done with general anesthesia, which puts you to sleep, or spinal anesthesia, which numbs the lower half of your body.
Your doctor will recommend a type of anesthesia based on your situation.
The goal of your surgery is to:
- cure your condition
- maintain the ability to have erections
- minimize side effects
- minimize pain before, during, and after surgery
Read on to learn more about the types of surgery, risks, and recovery.
The goal of prostate surgery also depends on your condition. For example, the goal of prostate cancer surgery is to remove cancerous tissue. The goal of BPH surgery is to remove prostate tissue and restore the normal flow of urine.
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What Have I Learned By Reading This
You learned about:
- Why prostate cancer treatment can cause erectile dysfunction
- What can be done about erectile dysfunction
- How erectile dysfunction may affect your sex life
- What your partner can expect
If you have any questions, please talk to your doctor or health care team. It is important that you understand what is going on with your prostate cancer treatment. This knowledge will help you take better care of yourself and feel more in control. It will also help you manage any side effects you may have from your treatment.
Your Cancer Care Team
People with cancer should be cared for by a multidisciplinary team . This is a team of specialists who work together to provide the best care and treatment.
The team often consists of specialist cancer surgeons, oncologists , radiologists, pathologists, radiographers and specialist nurses.
Other members may include physiotherapists, dietitians and occupational therapists. You may also have access to clinical psychology support.
When deciding what treatment is best for you, your doctors will consider:
- the type and size of the cancer
- what grade it is
- whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body
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What Is A Radical Prostatectomy
Surgery to remove the prostate is called a radical prostatectomy. Before the operation, the surgeon will explain what will happen and tell you about the possible side effects. They may also tell you about other treatments that may help in your situation, such as radiotherapy.
The aim of the surgery is to remove all of the cancer cells. It is usually only done when the cancer is contained within the prostate and has not spread to the surrounding area.