What to Expect: Before, During and After Laparoscopic Prostatectomy
The preparation for a laparoscopic prostatectomy is the same as it is for any type of traditional surgery. Most of the time you are required to fast before the surgery and to avoid certain medications.
You will be given general anesthesia during the surgery.
The risks of this surgery are no greater than those for most surgeries. There is always a risk of bleeding, infection, or injury to adjacent tissue. However, one of the major benefits of minimally invasive/laparoscopic surgery is that it tends to greatly reduce these risks.
The special risks associated with prostatectomy, post-surgical incontinence (inability to control the urge to urinate) and impotence (inability to have an erection), also apply to laparoscopic prostatectomy. But again, the laparoscopic approach tends to reduce them.
As with any surgery requiring general anesthesia, you’ll be taken to the recovery room after surgery, then you will be transferred back to your hospital room when you’re fully awake and your vital signs are stable.
Any post-operative pain you experience will be controlled by traditional pain medications. Laparoscopic prostatectomy does result in less post-operative pain than traditional prostatectomy.
You may also feel nauseous for several hours after the surgery, which is a possible side effect of the anesthesia. Medication can also control this. And you may have bladder spasms – a moderate cramping sensation in the lower abdomen or bladder – a side effect of a prostatectomy. They will decrease over time and can be treated by medication if needed.
During the surgery, a Foley catheter will be inserted into your penis to drain your bladder. The catheter is generally removed a week after surgery. Generally, laparoscopic prostatectomy enables patients to have the catheter removed sooner than traditional surgery. Your nurse will teach you on how to care for the catheter before discharge. You will be shown how to attach it to your legs to allow you to walk without difficulty.
You will also have a pelvic drain placed during surgery. It drains the pelvic space around the bladder and is usually removed before discharge.
Other post-operative conditions are similar to those for any major surgery. You’ll have an intravenous (IV) line (a small tube put into a vein, through which you can be given fluids and medicines). At first you will be placed on a clear liquid diet and later advanced to regular foods. You may feel tired for several weeks.
Prior to your discharge, you will be given necessary prescriptions and instructions, including when to follow up with your doctor.