A prostatectomy is a surgical approach to removing all or part of the prostate.  Prostatectomy is usually performed to remove early-stage prostate cancer before it has spread to the other parts of the body.  Often, the pelvic lymph nodes are also sampled to see if the cancer has spread.  Patients who undergo a radical prostatectomy should expect at least a 2-4 day stay in the hospital, however a full recovery can take up to 12 weeks.  Unfortunately if the cancer spreads beyond the prostate it cannot be cured.

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Surgical Techniques

The surgeon cuts to the edges of the prostate and aims to spare the erectile nerves that run alongside the prostate.  If the surgeon finds that the nerves cannot be spared because they found that the cancer has spread then it may be possible for the surgeon to create a nerve graft with nerves from other parts of the body to the ends of the erectile nerves that were cut out.  The surgeon will not know if the nerve-sparing procedure is possible until the patient is opened up to see if the cancer has spread.  If this procedure is an option though it will offer the best chance to preserve erectile function.

Laparoscopic: Small incisions are made in the abdomen with the robotic interface and the surgeon inserts narrow instruments with fitted cameras or surgical tools allowing the surgeon to see and operate on the prostate without cutting open the abdomen. 

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Prostatectomy is a very delicate procedure and the success of the procedure is strongly determined by the skill of the surgeon.  When deciding which surgeon to have perform your procedure make sure to look at their success record, experience level and that it is someone you greatly trust.


Side Effects

Prostatecomy procedures have become safer and less likely to cause lasting side effects, however results do vary from surgeon to surgeon.  There are potential side effects to having a prostenctomy and those include
     -Erectile function
     -Damage to the urethra
     -Damage to the rectum