What are the Complications following Radical Prostatectomy

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"What are the Complications following Radical Prostatectomy"
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Overview of prostate cancer:

Prostate cancer is one of the commonest cancers among men and contributes as the second commonest cause of death due to cancers among men. But, the condition, if diagnosed early, can be treated with better outcomes with minimal of invasive interventions.

Although this is true, still the detection of prostate cancer as with many other cancers is late and therefore would be at a complicated stage than when diagnosed early.

Thus, the eventuality is that, the cancer would require radical interventions at the time of diagnosis and such interventions would be associated with several other complications which can reduce the quality of life among such patients.

Radical prostatectomy:

Radical prostatectomy is one of the surgical options used in treating late stages of the disease and this option would include the removal of the prostate, seminal vesicles and other tissues surrounding the same which can get affected through the spreading cancer.

While doing this surgery, the nerves that are traversing the region might get damaged and other structures such as the bladder and the rectum might also receive injuries.

At the same time, delicate manipulation may be required in order to remove the lymph nodes in the region as there is a possibility of spreading the cancer cells to the regional lymph nodes.

‘Open’ vs ‘Laparoscopic’ surgery:

When considering the surgical approach in doing this type of surgery, open surgery and laparoscopic surgery would be used at different instances. Among the two, the open surgery would require a larger incision, will have prolonged hospital stay and would have relatively more bleeding.

Laparoscopic surgery, although might not be suitable all the time, would require only a shorted hospital stay, will have less bleeding and would require less number of days on the catheter.

Complications in radical prostatectomy:

But, the complications associated with these two approaches could basically be the same and following can be listed as the commonest of them all.


Following surgery, many individuals would feel incontinent but, would eventually regain the urinary bladder control to become continent. But, the nature of the surgery is such that, there might be instances of persistent incontinence, especially following surgery for advanced disease spread.

Erectile dysfunction

As the nerves related to obtaining an erection traverse through the same region, the radical prostatectomy can damage such nerves and lead to loss of this function. As such, following considering the patients age, ability obtain an erection before hand as well as life style factors; nerve sparing surgeries can be attempted which would be successful in 40 – 60% of the time.


Bleeding from the site is a possibility in any type of surgery and such bleeding can take place at the time of surgery or several days following such interventions.

Clotting of blood

Following these types of surgery, there is a possibility of developing conditions such as deep vein thrombosis or else other abnormal blood clot formation leading vital organ damage or failure. Thus, adequate mobilization and reducing the risk of abnormal blood clotting can be some of the measures taken to avoid these complications.

More about this author: Dr Pandula Siribaddana

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