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What is a prostatectomy?

The most common surgery for prostate cancer is a total (radical) prostatectomy. This surgery seeks to cure prostate cancer by removing the entire prostate gland from around the urethra and getting all of the cancer out of the body. With early-stage and low- to intermediate-grade prostate cancers, surgery is generally felt to be equal to radiation treatment in terms of survival.

The decision to have surgery versus radiation is often made on the basis of age and health status. Recurrence rates may be lower for surgery than radiation treatment. These and other factors should be discussed with your doctors when making treatment decisions.

This surgery can be done in one of four ways: the retropubic approach, the perineal approach, the laparoscopic approach and the robotically assisted laparoscopic approach.

The retropubic approach means that the incision is made in the lower abdomen.

The perineal approach means that the incision is made between the scrotum and anus.

The laparoscopic approach means that small punctures are made in the lower abdomen and a camera attached to a scope provides visualization with magnifications.

The robotic-assisted laparoscopic approach means that a very small incision is made in the lower abdomen. Robotic instruments, which are controlled by the urologist, are used.

Continue Learning about Prostatectomy

Can urinary leakage occur after a radical prostatectomy?
Joseph E. Busby, MDJoseph E. Busby, MD
Yes, it is common for men to leak for 6 weeks to 6 months after surgery. This will progressively imp...
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What are possible side effects of a prostatectomy?
Jayram Krishnan, DOJayram Krishnan, DO
The two main side effects of prostatectomy, says Jayram Krishnan, DO, a urologist at Sunrise Hospita...
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What should I expect after a laparoscopic prostatectomy?
Penn MedicinePenn Medicine
After having a laparoscopic prostatectomy, you will be carefully monitored in the recovery room ...
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How is a radical prostatectomy performed?
Marc B. Garnick, MDMarc B. Garnick, MD
During the radical prostatectomy procedure, which usually requires general anesthesia, the surgeon r...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.