Surgery To Remove Your Prostate Gland
You might have surgery to remove your prostate gland if:
- your cancer hasn’t spread outside the prostate gland
- you are younger and have a fast growing tumour
- as part of treatment for locally advanced or high risk localised prostate cancer
The aim of a radical prostatectomy operation is to cure prostate cancer. It is major surgery with some possible side effects. If you’re an older man with a slow growing prostate cancer, this type of surgery may not be necessary for you. This is because your cancer might grow so slowly that you’re more likely to die of old age or other causes than from prostate cancer.
Risk Of A Change In Penis Size Versus Risk Of No Surgery
While any decrease in penis size can be alarming, a prostatectomy is done as a life-saving surgery. Prostate cancer can be fatal and treatment substantially lowers the risk of death. Many people who are treated for prostate cancer go on to live for many years.
Talk to your surgeon and your oncologist about your individual risk of serious and minor complications, as well your expected chance of a cure and your estimated lifespan after the procedure, Your doctors will also tell you what to expect in the weeks, months, and years following your surgery.
How Radical Prostatectomy Affects A Relationship
A 2011 study of 63 men that had undergone a radical prostatectomy found that about 75 percent of them sought treatment for erectile dysfunction. Additionally, more than 50 percent reported having less sexual desire, and roughly an additional 40 percent were unable to have a satisfying orgasm.
The mental health effects of these symptoms were worse in highly sexually motivated participants. 52 percent reported that this had affected their self-esteem, and 36 percent said having performance anxiety.
Additionally, the last three items on the list above can be show-stoppers for a relationship. Few women can tolerate a high degree of urine leakage during sexual activity, and few men can handle the pain during intercourse.
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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:
Talking About Orgasm Problems Is Important
Men and their partners have become much more open about talking erectile dysfunction, in general and as a consequence of prostate cancer treatment, notes Dr. Kacker.
Whatever you think about all those ads for Viagra and Cialis, they have made it easier to talk about ED and helped remove some of the stigma around the condition.
We should be having the same frank, open discussions about orgasm, says Dr. Kacker. Orgasms can bring a couple together and allow them to maintain sexual intimacy in the difficult period around diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.
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What Is The Prostate’s Role In Urination
When urine is emptied into the bladder from the kidneys, it’s kept inside the body by a couple of valves that stay closed until your body tells them to open when you urinate.
If youve had your prostate completely removed, youve had a surgery called radical prostatectomy. Along with the prostate gland, the surgeon has to remove one of the valves outside the prostate that open and close to let urine out or keep it in. Usually having one working valve is enough, but there might also be also be some effect on the nerves and muscles in the area from the surgery that allows urine to leak. Approximately 6% to 8% of men who’ve had surgery to remove their prostates will develop urinary incontinence.
The Purpose Of Prostate Surgery
Prostate cancer surgery, or radical prostatectomy, is a procedure conventional medicine praises for curing prostate cancer.
It has been performed for many years and was regarded as the gold standard of prostate cancer treatment. However, few studies compare its efficacy to other techniques.
Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer today are typically diagnosed with Gleason 6 cancer levels. But, according to many experts, this diagnosis may not be cancer! According to Mark Scholz, MD, a board-certified oncologist and expert on prostate cancer:
Misuse of the term cancer has tragic implications. Real cancer requires action and aggressive medical intervention with the goal of saving a life. But consider the potential havoc created by telling someone they have cancer when it is untrue. This dreadful calamity is occurring to 100,000 men every year in the United States with men who undergo a needle biopsy and are told they have prostate cancer with a grade of Gleason 6.
The impact of this is quite profound. Most prostate cancer diagnosed today falls into this Gleason 6. If it is not cancer, thousands of men have had aggressive treatment for cancer they dont really have.
Aggressive treatment, usually a complete surgical removal of the prostate , is the typical result. This leaves the patient to suffer from its side effects for the rest of their life.
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What Is Prostate Removal
A prostatectomy is a surgical procedure for the partial or complete removal of the prostate, which is a small gland about the size of a ping-pong ball, located deep inside the groin, between the base of the penis and the rectum in men. The prostate supplies part of the seminal fluid , which mixes with sperm from the testes. Sperm needs this fluid to travel and survive for reproduction.
Surgery For Prostate Cancer
Surgery is a common choice to try to cure prostate cancer if it is not thought to have spread outside the prostate gland.
The main type of surgery for prostate cancer is a radical prostatectomy. In this operation, the surgeon removes the entire prostate gland plus some of the tissue around it, including the seminal vesicles.
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Life After A Radical Prostatectomy: A Real
Reposted from Greater Boston Urology.
In October of 2013, Les Cavicchi underwent a radical prostatectomythe removal of the prostate gland. Les had been diagnosed with prostate cancer a month earlier after undergoing a TRUS biopsy.
Less cancer was localized, meaning it was contained within the prostate gland itself. He didnt need further treatment for prostate cancer after the surgery, only regular monitoring of his PSA.
However, Les did suffer from common side effects associated with radical prostatectomies, specifically urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Q: So lets get right to it: You were dealing with incontinence after your radical prostatectomy?Les: The thing about any kind of prostate procedure is youve got to deal with incontinence. This was a big issue for me for a while. I had purchased padded undergarmentsa whole case of them, because I didnt know how long this was going to last.
Men wonder why this particular side effect happens. The prostate gland is the primary organ for controlling urinary flow in normal physiology. When you are rising frequently during the night, and/or having difficulty starting urination, these are signs that the prostate is beginning to grow in size and interfere with this specific function. Every mans prostate gets larger with age it does not necessarily have anything to do with having cancer. It is a separate reality.
Women dont have a prostate. What do they use? Kegel muscles!
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What Happens After Urethral Sling Surgery
Patients usually recover from this surgery quickly. It’s best to limit demanding activities for approximately six weeks after surgery to avoid having the sling loosen before healing is complete.
After surgery, there may be swelling that makes it difficult to urinate. You’ll have a catheter coming out of the urethra for two to three days. After this, the catheter is removed and just about everyone is able to void on their own. In rare cases, the catheter may have to be reinserted for a few days or up to a week if you cannot urinate.
After the swelling goes down, youll gradually be able to urinate on your own and empty your bladder. However, your normal urination pattern may not return for a few weeks.
The majority of men who’ve had this procedure have been cured of their urinary incontinence and no longer use pads. The others usually improve to the point where they don’t use as many pads as they were before.
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How Soon After Prostate Cancer Treatment Can I Be Sexually Active Again
This will depend on what type of treatment you have had and how you feel. It could be several weeks, for others it may be a lot longer for erections to return. Some men will never be able to keep an erection without the help of artificial methods like medicines or medical devices . If you were having problems having erections before treatment, this will not get better after treatment.
What Happens To A Man When He Has His Prostate Removed
Prostate is a male reproductory gland located anterior to the rectum and inferior to the bladder surrounding the urethra. It is involved in the secretion of prostate fluid that forms an important constituent of semen. It also works in the propulsion of seminal fluid into the urethra and also blocks the connection between the urethra and the bladder by contracting at the time of ejaculation. The prostatic fluid constitutes about one third of the total seminal fluid containing various enzymes of which PSA is of specific importance, not only in thinning of the seminal fluid and helping proper motility of the sperm, but also in the testing procedure for prostate related diseases, such as BPH .
The location of prostate is such that, if the patient experiences BPH then it might lead to urethral compression causing difficulty in urination and leading to LUTS . Unfortunately, BPH is a common problem in adult men and the chances of BPH drastically increases after the age of 60 years. A growth in size of prostate is also a sign of prostatic cancer.
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Recovering From Prostate Surgery
To treat prostate cancer, doctors perform tens of thousands of surgeries each year. In recent years, one procedure — called a radical prostatectomy — has become a fine art, says J. Brantley Thrasher, MD, a professor of urologic surgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. While side effects like incontinence and impotence are still major concerns, most patients respond well to the surgery, Thrasher says.
In fact, many men respond almost too well. “They feel so good after the surgery that they start to push themselves too hard,” he says. One of his recent patients went on a two-mile jog — while still wearing a catheter. “I told him he needed to slow down and rest for a while.”
If you have a radical prostatectomy in your future, you’ll want to know what to expect. Here’s a closer look at this procedure. As you’ll see, your life won’t necessarily take a turn for the worse after prostate surgery. In fact, it just might get better.
Why do surgeons perform radical prostatectomies?
According to the Food and Drug Administration, radical prostatectomy is considered to be the most definitive treatment for many men with prostate cancer, a disease that kills about 30,000 American men each year. Depending on their age and the stage of their cancer, however, some men do well with a less invasive treatment.
How should I prepare for surgery?
What happens during a radical prostatectomy?
What will happen during recovery in the hospital?
Open Radical Prostatectomy Vs Minimally Invasive Radical Prostatectomy
In 2003, only 9.2% of radical prostatectomies were done using a minimally invasive procedure. By 2007, that number had jumped to 43.2%. In 2009, researchers in Boston reported on a study that compared outcomes, benefits, and complications of open surgery vs. minimally invasive surgery:
- No difference was found in deaths or in the need for additional cancer therapy between the two approaches.
- The median hospital stay was two days for minimally invasive surgery and three days for open surgery.
- 2.7% of men having laparoscopic surgery required a blood transfusion compared with 20.8% of men having open surgery.
- There was more anastomotic stricture — narrowing of the suture where internal body parts are rejoined — for open surgery than for minimally invasive surgery .
- There were fewer respiratory complications with minimally invasive surgery than with open surgery .
- There were lower rates of incontinence and erectile dysfunction with open surgery. The overall rate was 4.7% for laparoscopic surgery and 2.1% for open surgery.
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Success Of Radical Prostatectomy
The goal of radical prostatectomy is to cure prostate cancer. However, prostate cancer cure is only possible from prostatectomy if prostate cancer is limited to the prostate.
During radical prostatectomy, the removed prostate is examined under a microscope to see if prostate cancer has reached the edge of the prostate. If so, the prostate cancer has probably spread. In these cases, further treatments may be needed.
Men with no evidence of prostate cancer spread have an 85% chance of surviving 10 years after radical prostatectomy.Ã
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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Caring For Your Incision
The incision runs from above the base of the pubic area to below the navel. It is important to keep it clean and dry. Showering once a day should be sufficient. If you notice extreme or increasing tenderness, progressive swelling, more than a small amount of drainage or any pus or redness, notify your doctor right away.
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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Questions To Ask Your Doctor Or Nurse
You may find it helpful to keep a note of any questions you have to take to your next appointment.
- What type of surgery do you recommend for me and why?
- What type of surgery do you recommend for me? Will you try to do nerve-sparing surgery?
- How many of these operations have you done and how many do you do each year?
- Can I see the results of radical prostatectomies youve carried out?
- What pain relief will I get after the operation?
- How and when will we know whether the operation has removed all of the cancer?
- How often will my PSA level be checked?
- What is the chance of needing further treatment after surgery?
- What is the risk of having urinary problems or erection problems and what support can you offer me?
What To Do Next
Learning that your PSA level is higher than it should be can be very stressful. Talk to your doctor about what your results mean and your next steps. You may need more treatment, or you might be able to wait and have regular PSA tests to watch your cancer.
It’s important to remember that your PSA test doesn’t tell the whole story. Levels can go up and down, and they’re different for each person. Even if you do still have cancer or your cancer has come back, it may not spread for a long time.
If your cancer does come back, treatment options include radiation in the area where your prostate used to be, and hormone therapy. Having these treatments can reduce the risk that your cancer will grow and spread.
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