Having any type of surgery can be a daunting prospect, but we don’t talk much about prostate issues and as such, it feels even more of a taboo. However, prostate removal is something that doctors do often so it isn’t anything that you should be too worried about. Knowing what to expect always happens, so never be afraid to speak to your doctor in advance to get a firm idea of what the process will be.
Having Your Prostate Removed
Known as a Radical Prostatectomy, the surgery will usually aim to remove the whole prostate alongside any cancer cells inside. It is usually given as an option if high PSA Levels indicate that the patient has prostate cancer that hasn’t spread outside of the prostate. If you’re wondering what is PSA – this is a Prostate-Specific Antigen, and when levels rise this can be an indication that something is wrong – including being an indicator for prostate cancer.
Types of Prostate Surgery
There are different types of surgery and your individual position will be a factor as to which one you will be undertaking. Your doctor should be able to discuss the options with you and discuss which option is best.
- By Hand Keyhole Surgery – This will involve making a handful of small slits across your lower stomach area and a slightly large one by your belly button. Surgical tools are then used to remove the prostate include a lighted camera that helps your surgeon to see the image on a screen.
- Robot-Assisted Keyhole Surgery – This works in a similar way to the by hand option, except it is robotic arms that carry out the surgery. This isn’t available in every hospital so is something that would need to be discussed with your doctor if it is your preferred method
- Open Surgery – Although keyhole surgery is generally the preferred method sometimes open surgery is the best method. This involves a single cut to your lower belly to allow them to remove the prostate and then use stitches to close up the wound.
Everyone recovers differently however you will be going how with a catheter so you’re nursing team will show you how to use this before sending you home. You should expect to keep this in for around 3 weeks although your medical team will discuss this with you. There are some side effects to having your prostate removed including difficulty going to the toilet and problems getting or keeping an erection. Not everyone has these side effects – it can depend on your health, age and how far the cancer has spread. You may even find that the side effects go away after a short amount of time.
Finding Out More
Always speak to your doctor about what to expect and why they have made particular decisions regarding your treatment. Everyone is different so your treatment journey may be different to someone else’s. This is normal but it is important to have an understanding of the treatment you are undertaking and why that particular route has been chosen for you.