Prostate removal is a major type of surgery and requires time for the body to recover. Even though robotic prostatectomy using the Da Vinci robot has less severe effects on the body and the patient can leave the hospital the same day, men should expect some changes in order to know how to deal with them. The surgery is performed through small incisions that are barely sensitive at the incision sites and the scar tissue is almost unnoticeable. Typically, the recovery is fast, most men are able to go home the next day and resume driving and working in two to three weeks after the surgery.
In the immediate hours after surgery:
The level of pain is lower than that of open prostatectomy, due to smaller incisions. However, you will be administered pain medication both orally and intravenously, through an IV. Make sure you have someone to pick you up from the hospital, as you won’t be able to drive right away. Ask your doctor to recommend some pain medication and dosages that you can take from home – most common ones are Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Even though the recovery is fast, you should get plenty of rest and not force yourself with lifting weights or exercises in the first few weeks.
Discuss your post-surgery diet with your doctor as you will probably want to avoid or at least minimize issues such as constipation. The lack of exercise, the medication, even the stress, might affect your bowel functions. Your diet will be focused on eating more vegetables, fruits, grains and avoiding meat, especially the red one, pasta, alcohol, fast-food, sugar and processed desserts.
During surgery for prostate cancer, the urethra is also affected and, depending on the experience of the surgeon, more or less of the continence function will be preserved. Due to the high precision of robotic surgery, the patient will have a catheter for roughly one week and the trauma to the urinary function will be minimum.
The discomfort that patients feel during this time is minimum, but you should expect the removal to make you feel uneasy. The catheter will be removed during a visit to your doctor, so do not try to do this at home, as it could cause infections. The degree of which the urinary function will be affected depends on how normal the function was before surgery, age and weight.
It is worth noting that most men will experience some degree of incontinence after prostate surgery, but control can be regained within several weeks or months to a year.
Experienced robotic surgeons like Dr. David Samadi don’t open the endopelvic fascia during surgery, which spares the rick of damage to nerve bundles that control sexual function. The recovery of the function, however, is not immediate and you should not feel discouraged if weeks or even a few months after surgery you experience erectile dysfunction. It is not an indication of long-term damage.
One major change that you will notice in your sex life is the absence of sperm. Having no prostate, the body will not produce semen during the orgasm. The sperm cells will be simply reabsorbed by the body them. This is not harmful and you shouldn’t be worried about it. Plenty of men deal with the problem with the help of medication that improves erectile dysfunction.
Even though once you complete the surgery you most likely will find yourself cancer-free, the anxiety and stress may never totally go away. The support of your friends and family is essential in these moments, but the most relief you will find is among people that have gone through the same experience.
We advise you to search locally for prostate cancer or cancer survivors support groups and discuss your journey in beating this. You will find there plenty of people that lived through the same emotions and painful experiences and you will gather your strength to overcome this and not let it define the rest of your life.
If physical presence is not an option for you, there are plenty of forums and online communities that gather around this subject. You can find people that share their experiences and advice below:
Prostate cancer surgery is not as severe of a surgery as other ones. The recovery, especially after robotic surgery, usually lasts up to 2 to 3 weeks and patients can return to work and to living their normal lives.Blog