Radical prostatectomy is a surgical procedure that can cure prostate cancer in some men. The procedure involves removing the entire prostate and surrounding tissue, and this will leave you with no remaining cancer if the cancer cells have not spread to any other parts of your body. As the seminal vesicles are removed during this procedure due to their proximity to the prostate gland, you will not be able to ejaculate after having your prostate removed, but you are still able to experience erections and have intercourse once you have recovered from the surgery. Radical prostatectomy can be carried out using open or laparoscopic surgical techniques, and your surgeon will decide on the technique to use based on a range of factors including your age, weight, and any underlying health conditions. Here's an overview of these two methods for removing the prostate.
An open prostatectomy is carried out by making a vertical incision in the lower abdomen below the belly button. The incision will be around 15-20cm long, and allows your surgeon easy access to your prostate gland with both their hands and a range of surgical tools to separate the prostate and remove surrounding tissue. The open surgical approach tends to be chosen when there are concerns about the ease of access to the prostate when using keyhole techniques. Excess body fat and scar tissue from previous lower abdominal surgeries can hinder access to the prostate and increase the risk of complications occurring, so an open prostatectomy may be considered safer in these circumstances. When the procedure is complete, your wound will be stitched or stapled and you will remain in hospital for a few days to ensure you are recovering well.
A laparoscopic prostatectomy uses keyhole surgical techniques to minimise scarring and improve recovery time. Several small incisions of no more than a centimetre each will be made in your lower abdomen and your surgeon will insert a tiny camera attached to a thin tube into one of the incisions. This camera is linked to a screen in the operating room and allows your surgeon to clearly see the prostate and surrounding tissue. Surgical tools are inserted through the remaining incisions, and these tools may be operated manually by your surgeon or they may use robot-assisted tools that they control through an interface panel. At the end of the procedure your incisions will be closed with dissolvable sutures, and you may be able to go home after a few hours of observation.
If your cancer has spread, you will require additional treatment, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. The success of these treatment options will depend on where the cancer has spread to and how advanced it is, and your doctor will discuss the likely outcome with you.
Undergoing a radical prostatectomy can be a lifeline for those with prostate cancer, but early diagnosis is vital. If you have symptoms of prostate cancer, or if you've been diagnosed with this type of cancer and are putting off treatment, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. They can answer any questions you have and address your concerns before supporting you through treatment. Learn more about prostate cancer surgery today.