Prostatectomy includes a number of surgical procedures to remove part or all of the prostate gland. The prostate gland is situated in the lower abdomen of men, below the urinary bladder. It surrounds the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder to the penis.

There are different types of prostatectomy, depending on the treatment involved:

Radical prostatectomy is surgery to remove the entire prostate gland and surrounding lymph nodes. This surgery is a treatment for men with localized prostate cancer. A surgeon can perform a radical prostatectomy using different techniques, including:

  • Robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy. The surgeon makes several small incisions in your lower abdomen to remove the prostate. He or she sits at a console, using instruments attached to a mechanical device (robot). Using the robotic device allows a more precise response to movement of the surgeon's hands.
  • Open radical prostatectomy. The surgeon makes an incision in your lower abdomen to remove the prostate (retropubic surgery). Rarely, this incision is made between your anus and scrotum (perineal surgery).
  • Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. The surgeon makes several small incisions in your lower abdomen and inserts special tools to remove the prostate.

Open simple prostatectomy is generally recommended for men who have severe urinary symptoms and very enlarged prostate glands. This enlargement of the prostate is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. The surgery does not remove the entire prostate, as is done in a radical prostatectomy, but removes just the obstructive part of the prostate that is blocking the flow of urine.

Your surgical team will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each technique, as well as your preferences, to determine which approach is best for you.

April 24, 2015