What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Before surgery, your doctor will give you a general anesthetic, which means you'll be unconscious during the procedure. Or you may receive a spinal anesthetic, which means you'll be conscious during surgery but won't feel any pain.

Your doctor may also give you an antibiotic right before surgery to prevent infection.

During the procedure

Once the anesthetic is working, your doctor may perform a cystoscopy. A long, flexible viewing scope (cystoscope) is inserted through the tip of your penis to see inside the urethra, bladder and prostate area.

Your doctor will then insert a tube (Foley catheter) into the tip of your penis that extends into your bladder. The tube drains urine during the procedure. Your doctor will make a cut (incision) below your navel. Depending on what technique your doctor uses, he or she may need to make an incision through the bladder to reach the prostate. In some cases, the procedure is done with robot assistance or laparoscopically. Laparoscopic and robotic surgery requires a few smaller incisions rather than a single large incision.

If you also have a hernia or bladder problem, your doctor may use the surgery as an opportunity to repair it.

Once your doctor has removed the part of your prostate causing symptoms, you may or may not have one to two temporary drain tubes inserted through punctures in your skin near the surgery site. One tube goes directly into your bladder (suprapubic tube), and the other tube goes into the area where the prostate was removed (pelvic drain).

After the procedure

After surgery you should expect that:

  • Your doctor may inflate a balloon inside the area where part of your prostate was removed. This puts pressure on the surgery area to stop bleeding. To keep blood clots from forming, you will have saline solution flowing through (irrigating) the bladder.
  • You'll be given intravenous (IV) pain medications. Your doctor may give you prescription pain pills to take after the IV is removed.
  • Your doctor will have you walk the day of or the day after surgery. You'll also do exercises to move your feet while you're in bed.
  • The suprapubic tube is generally removed after a few days. It may be taken out before you go home from the hospital. Or you may need to keep it in place and return to the hospital or doctor's office to have it removed.
  • You'll likely go home a few days after surgery. When your doctor thinks it's safe for you to go home, the pelvic drain is taken out. You may need to return to the doctor in one or two weeks to have staples taken out.
  • You may return home with a catheter in place. Most men need a urinary catheter for seven to 10 days after surgery.

Make sure you understand the post-surgery steps you need to take, and any restrictions.

  • You'll need to resume your activity level gradually. You should be back to your normal routine in about four to six weeks.
  • You won't be able to drive for at least a few days after going home. Don't drive until your catheter is removed, you are no longer taking prescription pain medications and your doctor says it's OK.
  • You'll need to see your doctor a few times to make sure everything is OK. Most men see their doctors after about six weeks and then again after a few months. If you have any problems, you may need to see your doctor sooner or more often.
  • You'll probably be able to resume sexual activity 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. After simple prostatectomy, you can still have an orgasm during sex, but you'll ejaculate very little or no semen.
July 23, 2013