31 January 2020
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If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer you will want to beat it and get back to living your normal life again.
A surgeon performs a radical prostatectomy (removing the prostate gland and surrounding tissue) to prevent the cancer spreading elsewhere. It is performed under general anaesthetic.
Since receiving your diagnosis of prostate cancer, it has probably had a significant impact on your life in many areas and this procedure offers the hope that you can leave it behind.
Radical prostatectomy is an operation to remove the prostate gland, with the aim of treating prostate cancer and preventing it from spreading to other parts of the body. The prostate gland produces part of the semen and is found underneath the bladder. It surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body).
Your consultant surgeon will remove the prostate and surrounding tissue while you are asleep, after you've had a general anaesthetic. You’ll be in hospital for two to seven days – depending on whether your surgeon uses a keyhole or open surgical procedure.
If you decide to have your treatment with us, you will be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having any surgery can cause anxiety. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there to reassure you throughout.
You will have a general anaesthetic before the operation so you’ll be asleep.
Your expert consultant will make a single cut in your abdomen to reach the prostate and surrounding tissue and remove it. They will then close it using either stitches or clips.
However for many surgical procedures, including this one, surgeons are increasingly using keyhole or laparoscopic techniques as this leads to less pain and blood loss. The cancer outcomes are similar to those for open surgery and your specialist surgeon will have discussed this with you during your initial appointment.
It can also reduce the average hospital stay, from five to seven days to one to two days.
If your surgeon does use a keyhole technique he or she will make a small cut in your abdomen to insert a tube with a camera and light. This will show images on a screen of your prostate and the surrounding area. They will then insert instruments through another four to five cuts to actually perform the operation.
Regardless of the technique used, the procedure usually lasts up to 3 hours.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
The affected area will be painful but we'll give you pain relief while you’re in hospital and when you go home.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
Depending on your progress and the type of surgery you had, you’ll be able to go home between two and seven days after the operation.
You should walk around as much as possible to reduce the risk of blood clots and drink lots of fluids.
For about two weeks you’ll have a catheter in place to drain urine into a bag but one of our professional and caring nurses will advise you on the care of the catheter to minimise the risk of infection.
We’ll ask you to come back in to have stitches or clips removed after a couple of weeks.
Everybody recovers at a different pace and it might be several months before you feel back to something like your old self. Generally recovery time is faster if you’ve had keyhole surgery. Talk to your doctor or nurse before the operation and at follow-up visits about how long you’re likely to need time off work.
You won’t be able to drive while you have a catheter bag in and your doctor and insurance company are likely to ask you to wait for a period beyond that. So you should ask a loved one to pick you up from hospital and do some light errands for you.
When you leave we’ll provide you with all the medication and information you need.
Typically your consultant will want to see you after your treatment to see how you’re doing. A follow up appointment will be made before you leave the hospital.
On rare occasions there can be complications. If you experience any of these symptoms – a urinary tract infection, stress incontinence (when urine leaks because you coughed, sneezed or made a sudden movement) or impotence – call us straight away. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
21 October 2019
Read our latest Q and A with ENT Consultant, Mr Jonathn Hughes on head and neck cancer.