Although open simple prostatectomy works well at relieving urinary symptoms, it has a higher risk of complications and a longer recovery time than other enlarged prostate procedures. Risks of open simple prostatectomy include:
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- Heavy bleeding. Some men lose enough blood during open simple prostatectomy to require a blood transfusion. You may store your own blood ahead of time in case this occurs, or you may be given donor blood if needed. In some cases, bleeding occurs after surgery and requires further treatment.
- Urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections are a possible complication after any enlarged prostate procedure. An infection is increasingly likely to occur the longer you have a catheter in place and may require antibiotics or other treatment.
- Difficulty holding urine. In some men, open simple prostatectomy causes loss of bladder control and an urgent need to urinate. In most cases, this gets better after several weeks to several months.
- Dry orgasm. Open simple prostatectomy causes retrograde ejaculation, which means the semen released during sexual climax (ejaculation) enters your bladder rather than exiting the penis. It isn't harmful and generally doesn't affect sexual pleasure, but it can interfere with your ability to father a child.
- Erectile dysfunction. In some cases, open simple prostatectomy causes erectile dysfunction — the inability to maintain an erection firm enough to have sex. Erectile function can improve over time, but in some men it's permanent.
- Narrowing (stricture) of the urethra or bladder neck. Sometimes surgery narrows the tube that carries urine from the bladder (urethra), or the area where the urethra attaches to the bladder (bladder neck). This can make urination difficult and may require additional treatment to correct.
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