What is Retropubic Prostatectomy?
Retropubic prostatectomy is a procedure performed on patients with localized to advanced prostate cancer who have a high likelihood of living up to at least 10 years after the surgery.
The procedure removes the prostate and surrounding tissues in an effort to eradicate cancer cells. Retropubic prostatectomy is known as a highly successful surgery with a good prognosis for patients. This open surgical method is advantageous because there is a better chance at sparing the nerves around the prostate while removing the necessary tissue to ensure all cancer is removed. Overall, patients can expect a retropubic prostatectomy to take about 3-4 hours.
The Affiliated Urologists team will meet with patients prior to their surgery to discuss any questions or concerns they may have. At this time, patients should list the medications, vitamins, and natural supplements they are taking. The physician may advise against taking certain medications the day of surgery, especially blood thinning drugs. The night before, patients should not eat anything and only stick to clear liquids as they prepare their home for surgery.
The patient will meet the surgeon at the hospital or surgery center. Patients or caregivers can ask any remaining questions they may have. When the patient is ready, they are positioned on his or her back, put under general anesthesia, and sterilized using an antiseptic solution. Once the patient is asleep, the surgeon will use the retropubic approach and will make the incision below the navel in the lower abdomen. The surgeon can then carefully approach the prostate and remove it along with the seminal vesicles and lymph nodes if needed. The urethra is then reattached to the bladder neck, and a catheter is put in place to drain urine. Once the surgeon is confident the cancer has been successfully removed, the incision is stitched up and bandaged. The patient is then taken to the recovery room to wake up from anesthesia and be monitored. During the hospital stay, patients will learn how to care for their drains and surgical dressings. The patient may be required to wear the catheter for a few weeks following the procedure.
Patients should be driven home from the hospital and may be required to rest for up to three weeks. Any medications, including painkillers, antibiotics, and stool softeners should be taken as directed. During this recovery period, patients should stick to a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Strenuous activity should be avoided, but patients may be instructed to perform pelvic floor strengthening exercises to prevent urine leakage, although a small amount is normal. The catheter and wound site should be kept clean at all times in order to avoid infection. Patients should call Affiliated Urologists immediately if they experience signs of infection, fever, swelling of the legs, or any problems with the catheter or urination. Our staff is happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Following the recovery period, some patients may notice problems getting or maintaining an erection. Impotence, as well as both urinary and bowel incontinence, are common side effects of a retropubic prostatectomy, and an Affiliated Urologists cancer expert can work with the patient during follow up appointments to mitigate these issues and reduce the risk of recurring cancer.