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

Does robotic prostatectomy have fewer complications?
Penn MedicinePenn Medicine
Robotic prostatectomy is a treatment for prostate cancer. This type of prostatectomy increases preci...
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How is a robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy performed?
Marc B. Garnick, MDMarc B. Garnick, MD
To perform a robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy, the surgeon sits at a console several feet a...
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How will a prostatectomy affect my ability to get an erection?
Jayram Krishnan, DOJayram Krishnan, DO
Prostatectomy does decrease erections by about 30%, says Jayram Krishnan, DO, a urologist at Sunrise...
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What happens during laparoscopic prostatectomy?
Penn MedicinePenn Medicine
Laparoscopic prostatectomy is the complete removal of the prostate using long, narrow instruments th...
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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.