Prostatectomy (Prostate Removal Surgery)
Reducing your risk of complications
You can reduce the risk of certain complications by following your treatment plan including:
- Ensuring that all members of you care team are aware of any allergies you have
- Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before surgery and during recovery
- Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, bloody urine, fever, increase in pain, decreased urination, or wound redness, swelling or drainage
- Taking your medications exactly as directed
How do I prepare for my prostatectomy?
You are a very important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before surgery can significantly improve your outcome after the procedure. You can prepare yourself for prostatectomy by:
- Answering all questions about your medical history and medications you take. This includes prescribed medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
- Getting pre-operative testing as directed. Testing will vary depending on your age, health, and specific procedure. Pre-operative testing may include a chest X-ray, electrocardiography (ECG), blood tests, and other tests as needed.
- If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about losing weight before surgery through a healthy diet and exercise plan.
- Following diet restrictions as directed by your doctor. Your surgeon will restrict eating or drinking just prior to surgery. Your surgery may be cancelled if you eat or drink too close to the start of the procedure due to a risk of complications. These include choking on stomach contents during general anesthesia.
- Stop smoking as soon as possible. Even quitting for a just few days can be helpful.
- Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners.
Questions to ask your doctor
Facing surgery can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctor’s office visit or in an emergency situation. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. You should contact your surgeon with any concerns before surgery and between appointments. It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions and a family member or friend to your pre-operative appointments. Questions can include:
- Why do I need a prostatectomy? Are there any other options for treating my condition?
- What type of prostatectomy procedure will I need?
- How long will the surgery take? When can I go home?
- What restrictions will I have after the surgery? When can I expect to return to work and other activities?
- How long should I wait to have sex after the surgery?
- What assistance will I need at home?
- How long will I need to have a tube in my bladder (urinary catheter) after the surgery?
- What medications will I need before and after the surgery?
- How will you manage my pain?
- How should I contact you? When should I see you in follow-up? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.
What can I expect after my prostatectomy?
Knowing what to expect can help make your road to recovery after prostatectomy as smooth as possible.
How long will it take to recover?
After your prostatectomy, you will stay briefly in the recovery room until your vital signs are stable. When you wake up, you will have a tube in your penis called a catheter. This tube is in place to drain urine from your bladder and give your urethra time to heal. Your catheter will stay in place from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the type of prostatectomy that you had. You may also wake up from surgery with a small tube in your lower abdomen that is attached to a bag into which fluid from the surgical site can drain. Your healthcare team will most likely remove this tube before you leave the hospital.
© Copyright 2012 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.