What is prostatectomy?

Typically the first step in treating prostate cancer is to remove your prostate (the gland that sits just below a man's bladder and produces semen) using a surgery called a prostatectomy. New surgical techniques allow your doctor to remove your prostate with smaller incisions and fewer risks.

In the past, the only option was an open prostatectomy, where your doctor makes a surgical cut (incision) in your lower abdomen just above your pubic bone. The prostate is then removed through this incision. Because it is a larger incision, open prostatectomies can take longer to heal, have a higher risk for bleeding and may cause more pain.

Luckily, thanks to advances in surgical techniques, doctors rarely perform open prostatectomies anymore. Most surgeons today use laparoscopic or robotic-assisted prostatectomy techniques which help you feel more comfortable during surgery and recover faster.

What to expect from a prostatectomy

During these minimally invasive surgeries, your doctor makes a few tiny incisions around your lower abdomen. Special tools and a camera are placed through the incisions so your doctor can precisely remove the prostate. Precision is important in prostatectomies since your prostate is near important nerves and other organs.

Robotic-assisted prostatectomies have become the preferred method of removing the prostate because the high-tech equipment gives doctors more control and precision during surgery. If you have a robotic-assisted prostatectomy, you not only have less bleeding, pain and a shorter recovery, you also have reduced risk of complications such as urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction.


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