Removing Your Prostate Gland

Surgery is a treatment option for you if your prostate cancer is early stage and has not spread beyond the prostate. It is also sometimes used to treat men with advanced stage disease to relieve symptoms. The procedure, known as a prostatectomy, usually involves removing the entire prostate and nearby lymph nodes. There are two basic approaches for prostatectomy: open or laparoscopic.

Open prostatectomy: In this surgery, your doctor removes the prostate through an incision in your lower abdomen. The surgeon may also remove nearby tissue if the cancer has spread. Rarely, the surgeon will perform the prostatectomy through a small incision in the perineum, the area between the scrotum and anus.

Laparoscopic surgery: In this surgery, sometimes referred to as key-hole surgery, the surgeon operates by inserting instruments through five to six tiny incisions in the abdomen. The laparoscope – a tube with a light and a camera – is inserted through one of the incisions, and surgical tools are inserted through the others. This type of surgery can be performed by the surgeon alone or with the assistance of a surgical robot. Compared to open prostatectomy, laparoscopic surgery has a shorter recovery time, with less bleeding and scarring.

Whether you choose open or laparoscopic surgery, be sure to find an experienced and skilled surgeon who can use a nerve-sparing technique. Nerve-Sparing-Surgery reduces the chance that the nerves near your prostate will be harmed. These important nerves are very important and play a role in controlling erections. Always ask the surgeon what his/her personal success rate is – general statistics are not enough.

Before choosing surgery, consider ...

Surgery might be a good option if you are at higher risk, and if you are healthy, younger than 70, willing to accept the side effects and risks of treatment, and anxious to have your cancer removed. In addition to the usual risks of surgery, there are potential long-term side effects following prostate removal that could permanently affect your quality of life, including loss of bladder control, lack of sexual function or impotence, and changes in bowel activity. In addition, there is a chance that you may still need radiation therapy after your surgery.


National Cancer Institute DHHS