This surgery removes the prostate gland. It is one treatment for prostate cancer. The lymph nodes in the pelvis and lower abdomen may be biopsied.
The operation may cause
- Loss of bladder control, this may be short or, rarely, long term.
- Problems getting an erection in 30-80% of cases. This depends on many factors.
- Injury to the rectum.
- Scarring at the bladder neck.
To be in the best state of health for surgery:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Take iron pills, if ordered
The day before surgery, you will need to do a prep to empty stool from your bowel before surgery. We will discuss this with you and give you a separate hand out for the bowel prep. .
- Expect to be in the hospital for about 3 days. You will have an IV, 2 drains near the incision, and a urine catheter in your bladder. The catheter will stay in for 2 weeks. Your nurse will teach you how to take care of your catheter before you leave the hospital.
- Your ride home can be more comfortable if you sit on 1 or 2 pillows. Have your driver keep these in the car.
Activity While You are in the Hospital
- You will be out of bed soon after surgery.
- Getting up in a chair and walking speeds your recovery.
- Pain pills will make it easier for you to move.
- You may shower. No bathtubs, hot tubs, or swimming while you have the catheter in and until your wound is healed.
- Wash your incision with a mild soap and water, rinse well, and pat it dry.
- Wear a bandage if it is draining, your clothes rub on it, or it is in a skin fold. Change the bandage everyday or more often if it gets wet.
- No lotion, powder, or ointments on your wound.
Expect to have pain when you go home. You will have pain pills to take.
- You will go home with the catheter for 2 weeks. We will teach you how to care for it before you go home.
- Your urine will be a light cherry pink color. This is normal.
You will go home on a regular diet. For the first 4 – 5 days, eat small meals throughout the day. Avoid large meals as this may cause bloating. You will need to drink 8-10 (8 oz.) glasses of fluid each day while you have the catheter in. Decrease to 6 – 8 per day after the catheter is removed. This will help your body heal and can help prevent constipation.
You will have stool softeners to take. Fiber, fluids, and exercise can also help to prevent this problem. Do not strain when you have a bowel movement.
Activity at Home
- Nothing strenuous such as jogging, aerobics, weight lifting, or running for the first 6 – 8 weeks. Slowly increase your exercise each week. You may climb stairs.
- Walk several times daily; rest when tired.
- Do not lift more than 20 lbs. for 6 weeks.
- No driving for 2 weeks and while you are taking narcotic pain pills.
One week after surgery, we will see you in the clinic. The staples will be taken out. We will review your pathology report. The catheter stays in. Bring your list of questions so we can discuss them.
Two weeks after surgery, we will do a voiding trial. We will fill your bladder with saline through the catheter. We remove the catheter and have you urinate. We will compare how much was put into your bladder with how much you are able to urinate. After the catheter is out, you may have a temporary loss of bladder control. Please bring adult diapers with you to this visit.
Expect to leak urine especially when going from lying down to standing up. Kegel exercises will help to strengthen the muscles that control your urine flow. You will be given instructions on how to do this exercise.
When to Call the Doctor
- Shortness of breath or chest pain. Call 911.
- Signs of infection.
- Increasing redness or warmth
- Pus-like drainage or blood
- Temperature greater that 100.5°F by mouth for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart
- Pain not controlled with pain pills
- Swelling in your feet or legs, or severe pain in calves, thighs or lower legs.
- Catheter is not draining.
Urology Clinic: (608) 263-4757
After hours, weekends, and holidays this connects you to the message center. Or you may call (608) 262-0486.
Ask for the urology doctor on call or the doctor on call for Dr. _________________________. Give your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
Toll free: 1-800-323-8942.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7095.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 10/13/2010
Copyright © 08/26/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4576
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