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What to Expect from Prostatectomy

Prior to Surgery

  • Talk to your doctor about any medications/vitamins/herbs you are taking as you may need to stop certain ones before surgery. Stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners one week prior to surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have
  • The day before surgery, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Drink one bottle of Magnesium Citrate the evening before your surgery and use a Fleets enema the morning of surgery to evacuate the colon.
  • Drink clear fluids for a 24-hours prior surgery. These include: water, clear chicken or beef broths, apple, grape or cranberry juice, Tang, Hawaiian Punch, lemonade, Kool Aid, Gatorade, tea (sweet or unsweet), black or sweetened coffee, clear jello, popsicles without fruit or cream and Italian ices.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Surgery

You will stay in the hospital for one to two days following surgery. During a hospital stay, you may:

  • Be encouraged to walk the day after surgery
  • Have a catheter that will remain in place for one to two weeks, based on healing
  • Be encouraged to do breathing exercises
  • Wear special stockings on your legs that reduce your risk for blood clots
  • Shown how to do Kegel exercises to better control your urine
  • At discharge, your doctor will recommend that you not drive for a week after the surgery and avoiding heavy exercise for three or four weeks.

Recovery: What to Expect in the Next Few Weeks

  • Most men feel better within the first week following surgery; however, do not lift, push or pull any heavy objects until after your doctor says it is OK.
  • Full recovery takes at least one month. Remember that it may take up to a year to gain full control of your bladder and to achieve sexual function.

Alternative Names
Prostate Removal

Prostatectomy Q&A

What does the procedure involve?

Patients undergo the procedure using general anesthesia (completely asleep.) Five small incisions are made across the abdomen and ports are placed in them, four for the robot’s camera and instrument arms and a fifth for passing needles in and out during surgery. An additional, smaller incision is made for the passing of instruments.

The urologist is able to reach the prostate precisely by entering the abdominal cavity. The prostate is removed through an incision with a scalpel or similar instrument and lymph nodes are then removed for sampling. The area is cleaned, a catheter is inserted and the site is sutured.

How are incisions made?

Very tiny incisions are made through which a magnified 3-dimensional high-definition vision system and wristed instruments that bend and rotate to enable the surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control are inserted.

How long is the operation?

While it may vary based on patient weight and size of the prostate and scarring present in the region, most surgeries are completed in about three hours.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

Normally, it is a one-to-two day hospitalization.

What is the recovery time?

Most men fully recover within a month. Note that urinary and sexual function may take sevral months and up to a year to resume.

Will I be able to control my bladder following surgery?

It may take a few months to a year, about 90 percent of patients are dry after 12 months. In the intervening months, patients may have some stress incontinence when sneezing or coughing.

Will I be able to have an erection following surgery?

Erectile function varies based on age, recovery time and if one or both of the nerve bundles were spared. In cases where men underwent nerve-sparring surgery, erectile function typically returns in about 50 to 80 percent of patients after a year.