Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. This disease affects the prostate, the gland located under the bladder and in front of the rectum. This gland helps produce semen and allows for sperm to move more effectively, along with several other functions. The cancer cells develop in the prostate and invade the healthy tissues and multiply at a rate much faster than regular cells. When confined to the prostate gland, this disease can usually be treated effectively, making early detection crucial for handling prostate cancer.
A radical prostatectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the entire prostate gland, as well as the surrounding tissue. This procedure is usually restricted to patients with prostate cancer that has not spread to other areas of the body.
Candidates for Radical Prostatectomy
Typically, prostate cancer patients with cancer that is confined to the prostate will undergo a radical prostatectomy. Other surgical procedures may be performed on patients with advanced stages or a recurrence of the disease.
Types of Radical Prostatectomy Surgery
Retropubic prostatectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the prostate through an incision is made in the abdominal wall. Lymph nodes may also be removed. This is a more common procedure because it allows simultaneous access to the lymph nodes adjacent to the prostate.
Perineal prostatectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the prostate through an incision made in the perineum, the area between the scrotum and the anus. If necessary, a separate incision in the abdomen may also be made to remove the lymph nodes. The perineal approach may be preferred if the doctor believes that the lymph nodes are cancer-free.
Laparoscopic surgery is a less invasive procedure where multiple and very small incisions are made in the abdomen. Tiny cameras and surgical tools are used, allowing the doctor to operate on the prostate without cutting open the entire abdomen.
Robotic surgery is a procedure where the doctor controls a robotic device that performs the prostatectomy. This option allows surgeons to perform the procedure through robotic arms that mimic the movement of their own and offers a three-dimensional, magnified view of the prostate.
Complications or Risks of Radical Prostatectomy
Because of the possible risks and and complications of a radical prostatectomy, doctors usually recommend that candidates be young and in good health. Complications may include:
- Blood clots
Recovery from Radical Prostatectomy
Most patients will spend approximately six days in the hospital recovering from a radical prostatectomy. After returning home, patients are advised to keep the site of the incision clean to decrease the risk of infection. Patients are advised not to lift anything heavy or engage in any strenuous activities for six weeks after the surgery. Lifting and straining could cause a hernia at the site of the incision. Patients will receive an individualized plan for checkups and future prostate-specific antigen,or PSA tests, from their doctors.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine