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What is a Prostatectomy?

The prostrate is a walnut-sized gland located in the groin that surrounds the urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder through the penis), and produces the fluid in male semen. Prostatectomy refers to the surgical removal of part of the prostate gland (transurethral resection, a procedure performed to relieve urinary symptoms caused by benign enlargement), or all of the prostate (radical prostatectomy, the curative surgery most often used to treat prostate cancer). The prostate tends to enlarge as a man ages, or because of cancer, thus compressing the urethra and restricting urine flow. A prostatectomy is the procedure where a healthcare professional widens the center of the prostrate ring by coring the tissue with an instrument inserted through the penis.

Risks of prostatectomy

The symptoms of an enlarged prostrate include not being able to empty the bladder completely, needing to go to the bathroom more often (especially at night), hesitation in starting to urinate, and a weak urine stream. The risks after surgery are similar to those of any major surgery. They include:
    Heart attack
    Blood clots in the legs
    Infection at the incision site
    Post-operative bleeding
    Death (rare)

How Is a Prostatectomy Performed?

Using an injection in the spine that numbs from the waist down or general anesthesia, during a laparoscopic prostatectomy, a telescopic instrument called a laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision at the belly button. A prostatectomy generally takes thirty to sixty minutes to perform, with a recovery time of two to four weeks. The laparoscope allows surgeons to view inside the abdomen and perform the surgery without having to make a large incision. Usually, four more small incisions are made in the abdomen to accommodate surgical instruments during surgery. This procedure provides excellent results for the majority of men with minimal discomfort, allowing a return to sexual intercourse as soon as the wound is healed.

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