While In The Hospital
It’s important to your recovery to start moving as soon as possible. Most men are out of bed and walking around the unit on the same day as their surgery. Your nurse will assist you until you can manage on your own. When you first get up, raise the head of your bed, take a couple of deep breaths, and allow your body to adjust to the change in position. Dangle your feet over the side of the bed for a few minutes, then slowly stand up. Be careful because getting up too quickly can make you light-headed.
Get out of bed at least three times each day preferably more. This helps prevent lung infections and blood clots. You may be prescribed an injectable blood thinner to further reduce the risk of blood clots. The more time you spend out of bed, the faster you will recover and the faster your bowel function will return to normal. Your nurse will also give you an oral stool softener and mild laxative to prevent constipation.
In addition to walking, you will be encouraged to do two other things that help prevent complications: Use an incentive spirometer , and wear compression stockings while in bed. Both will be provided and the nurses will instruct you on how to use them.
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.
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 Paulâs story for one manâs experience of managing urinary problems after surgery below.
Sexual problems after surgery
Change in penis size and shape
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What Happens After Radical Prostatectomy
Patients are usually discharged within 24 hours of surgery after radical prostatectomy.
You may have a drain that gets rid of excess fluid from the surgery site. If a drain is placed at the time of surgery, it is typically removed before you leave the hospital.
A urinary catheter continues to drain your urine into a bag. You may need to leave the catheter in place at home for a few days to one week.
After a surgeon removes your prostate, youll no longer ejaculate semen. But you can still be sexually active.
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.
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Sex After Prostate Surgery
When first diagnosed with prostate cancer, its common for men to wonder what the future will hold. Certainly, a prostate cancer cure is a top priority, but then what?
Dr. David Samadi understands that men want to know:
Will I have sex after prostate cancer?
How will sex after prostate cancer be different?
For many men, prostate cancer treatment choice determines these answers.
If you select robotic prostate surgery your chances of enjoying sex after prostate surgery are very high. Robotic prostatectomy is a minimally invasive prostate removal. It is considered one of the best treatment options for prostate cancer due to its success rate and fast recovery rate.
The da Vinci robotic prostate cancer surgery system enables the surgeon to make precise movements. This ensures cancer-removal efficiency and sparing of the nerves and muscles that are responsible for the sexual function.
However, it is absolutely critical to choose a robotic surgeon with a high case volume and extensive prostate surgery experience. The robot does not perform the surgery and technology is no guarantee of success. Enjoying sex after prostate surgery is only possible if the procedure was performed by an experienced, highly-trained robotic surgeon.
Dr. Samadi explains how the preservation of sexual function is possible:
Prostatectomy Surgery & Your Sex Life: The Basics
Your prostate gland plays a key role in your sexual and urinary function. If your prostate is surgically removed, youll likely experience changes to your ability to have sex.
Several different methods are used to remove part or all of the prostate gland. The type of technique thats used for your prostatectomy may have an effect on your sex life and sexual performance after surgery.
Because your prostate plays a key role in producing and secreting semen, you may not be able to ejaculate normally after its surgically removed.
Medications like sildenafil , tadalafil and others can often help to improve your sexual performance after prostate removal.
When these arent effective, other treatments, such as injectable medications or penile prosthesis, may help you to enjoy a healthy sex life.
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Loss Of Bladder Control
You can expect to have some light dribbling or trouble controlling your bladder for some weeks to months after a radical prostatectomy. This is known as urinary incontinence or urinary leakage. You can use continence pads to manage urinary leakage. Bladder control usually improves in a few weeks and will continue to improve for up to a year after the surgery. In the long term, some people will continue to have some light dribbling. Some people may consider having an operation to fix urinary incontinence. In rare cases, people have no control over their bladder. For help managing these problems, see Urinary problems.
After Prostate Cancer Surgery
After your operation, you will wake up in the recovery room. Once its safe to do so, you usually go back to the ward. Recovery rooms and wards are busy and often noisy places that some people find strange and disorienting. You’ll feel drowsy because of the anaesthetic and painkillers.
It takes a few weeks for you to recover after your operation. You will need to spend a few days in the hospital and then give yourself time to recover once you are home. Most people can go back to normal activities between 6 to 8 weeks after surgery.
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What Are The Advantages Of Laparoscopy
As is the case with other minimally invasive procedures, laparoscopic prostate removal has significant advantages over traditional surgery:
- Laparoscopy can shorten your hospital stay to 1 or 2 days. About 50% of men are discharged one day after surgery.
- There is much less bleeding during the operation.
- You are less likely to need prescription painkillers after you leave the hospital. Patients often need nothing more than Tylenol.
- At your follow-up appointment 1 week after surgery, the tube, or catheter, draining your bladder will be removed if there are no signs of other problems. Occasionally, the catheter remains in place for another week, as with conventional surgery.
- About 90% of patients can return to work or resume full activity in only 2 to 3 weeks.
Staging Of Prostate Cancer
Doctors will use the results of your prostate examination, biopsy and scans to identify the âstageâ 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.
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Life After Prostate Removal
For many men with prostate cancer, prostate removal is never needed because the cancer is often slow-growing and managed with non-surgical treatments. But, if the cancer has grown beyond the prostate, the oncologist may recommend prostate removal surgery, also called a prostatectomy. If you are going to have prostate removal surgery, this information can help you in your discussion with the doctors.
Caring For The Catheter
You will be discharged with a Foley catheter, a tube that continuously drains urine from your bladder into a bag and that you will use for seven to 10 days. Before you leave the hospital, your nurse will teach you how to empty and care for your catheter and drainage bag. The catheter works with gravity and should be draining urine at all times, so you have to keep the drainage bag below your bladder at all times, even when you shower. If your urine is not draining, lower the bag and check the connection for kinks or loops. Loops can cause an air lock that prevents drainage. You can also try emptying the bag. Then try briefly disconnecting the catheter from the clear plastic tubing to allow a little air into the system. Your nurse will show you how to do this before your discharge.
To prevent infection, you must keep your catheter clean. This section explains how to clean the catheter, the area around the catheter and the drainage bag. It also explains how to apply your leg bag and secure the catheter to your leg.
We will provide most of the supplies you need to care for your catheter. They include:
- Blue clamp
- StatLock Foley catheter securement device
- Shaving supplies
You should empty the catheter bag when it’s half full. This helps prevent air locks from developing in the tubing.
To apply the leg bag:
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What Causes Incontinence After Prostate Surgery
Urinary incontinence is a potential side effect of prostate removal surgery. The prostate is located just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. Removing it , or using radiation to treat it, can sometimes cause damage to the nerves and muscles of the bladder, urethra, and or sphincter, which controls the passage of urine from the bladder. This can result in urinary incontinence. In this instance, men are usually experiencing stress urinary incontinence, which is a type of incontinence that happens when you place increased pressure on the bladder. Things like sneezing, coughing, working out, and even standing up can cause you to leak urine.
How Bad Is Incontinence After Prostate Surgery
The degree of incontinence varies from person to person and can be anywhere from full-on incontinence, to light dribbles. Some men may only experience this with certain activities, like working out, whereas some may experience leaks when going from sitting to standing. The amount you leak right after surgery will likely lessen as you continue with your recovery and any additional bladder or pelvic floor treatments you may be doing.
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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?
Day Before Your Surgery
Follow a light diet
Follow a light diet, such as a small sandwich, eggs, toast, crackers, or soup. Limit the amount of dairy products you eat and drink, and avoid fried foods and foods with a lot of seasoning.
Note the time of your surgery
A staff member from the Admitting Office will call you after 2 p.m. the day before your surgery. If your surgery is scheduled for a Monday, theyll call you the Friday before. If you do not get a call by 7 p.m., call .
The staff member will tell you what time to arrive at the hospital for your surgery. Theyll also remind you where to go.
Do your bowel preparation
The night before your surgery, use a saline enema as instructed on the box.
Shower with a 4% CHG solution antiseptic skin cleanser
The night before your surgery, shower with a 4% CHG solution antiseptic skin cleanser.
Do not use any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, perfume, or cologne after your shower.
Go to bed early and get a full nights sleep.
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What Happens Immediately After Surgery
Once your surgery has finished, you are taken to the recovery room where you will wake up.
There will be a catheter in your bladder and sometimes a small wound drain.
You will often feel a sense of needing to empty your bladder. This is normal and is due to the irritation and spasm of the bladder caused by the catheter. This sensation slowly resolves and medication can be given to help relax the bladder. The catheter is held in place with a 3cm inflatable balloon on the catheter tip so cannot fall out with normal activity. Your catheter will remain in for approximately ten days to allow the new join between your bladder and urethra to heal.
Typically, after one hour in the recovery room, you are taken back to the ward. You will be able to sit up in bed and eat dinner on the evening of surgery and walk about the ward that day or the following morning. Blood thinners and calf compressors are used to reduce the risk of blood clots forming within the veins. Post-operative pain is well controlled through the use of regular pain medication. Once you are comfortable and confident in caring for the catheter you can head home. Hospital stay is typically 1-2 nights for robotic surgery and 2-3 nights for open surgery.
Open Or Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy
In the more traditional approach to prostatectomy, called anopen prostatectomy, the surgeon operates through a single long skin incision to remove the prostate and nearby tissues. This type of surgery is done less often than in the past.
In a laparoscopic prostatectomy, the surgeon makes several smaller incisions and uses special long surgical tools to remove the prostate. The surgeon either holds the tools directly, or uses a control panel to precisely move robotic arms that hold the tools. This approach to prostatectomy has become more common in recent years. If done by experienced surgeons, the laparoscopic radical prostatectomy can give results similar to the open approach.
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Dealing With Prostate Cancer
Being diagnosed and living with prostate cancer can change how you feel about life. If you or your loved one is dealing with prostate cancer you may feel scared, stressed or even angry. There is no right way to feel and everyone reacts differently.
Visit our wellbeing hub for information to help support you in looking after your emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. If you are close to someone with prostate cancer, find out more about how you can support someone with prostate cancer and where to get more information.
Where Can I Find Prostate Cancer Support Groups
Even though once you complete the surgery you most likely will find yourself cancer-free, the anxiety and stress may never totally go away. The support of your friends and family is essential in these moments, but the most relief you will find is among people that have gone through the same experience.
We advise you to search locally for prostate cancer or cancer survivors support groups and discuss your journey in beating this. You will find there plenty of people that lived through the same emotions and painful experiences and you will gather your strength to overcome this and not let it define the rest of your life.
If physical presence is not an option for you, there are plenty of forums and online communities that gather around this subject. You can find people that share their experiences and advice below:
Prostate cancer surgery is not as severe of a surgery as other ones. The recovery, especially after robotic surgery, usually lasts up to 2 to 3 weeks and patients can return to work and to living their normal lives.
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