If you are going through a prostate cancer surgery, you should be aware of the recovery period. Your body will have gone through considerable stress and it’s important that you take the time to recuperate and be aware of the potential side effects. Here’s a step by step guide to help you prepare.
After the successful completion a robotic prostatectomy you will stay in hospital for one to two nights. You will be mobilised early. Most patients wake up with a catheter tube and a small drain. You will be prescribed painkillers as well.
You can expect to have this catheter in place for a week, however, some patients will require it for longer, depending on the specifics of the surgery. Your urology specialist will detail how to care for your catheter and will assist in its removal when ready.
Upon returning home most men will probably find that regular painkillers like Panadol are sufficient, however, if the pain is intolerable your doctor can prescribe you with stronger alternatives.
After one week to ten days, your catheter will generally be removed by a urology nurse in the hospital. You will also meet Dr Arianayagam to go through the pathology results and discuss any extra treatments if needed. Pelvic floor physio therapy is restarted at this point and we also commence PDE5 inhibitors and penile vacuum devices as well to aid in recovery of erectile function. You should be active but still focus on your recovery as your body will still need to heal.
You should refrain from driving until a week after your prostate cancer surgery, after your catheter has been removed. Also be aware that stronger pain medications can affect driving so be sure to check with your doctor.
Different men will feel they are able to return to work at different times, depending on their operation and the success of their recovery. Most men return to work within one to six weeks. Men should refrain from jobs that require lifting and strenuous physical activity for six weeks.
After a month, most men will be able to return to work, and their operation site will be near healing. Despite this, it’s recommended that men refrain from strenuous activity, prolonged activity, or activities that may disrupt the operation site for at least 6 weeks.
Some examples of these activities are:
• Heavy lifting
• Horseback Riding
• Riding Motorcycles
• Also, try not to sit in one position for longer than 45 minutes.
After about six months, most men find that they can return to their usual lives within reason. Despite this, there may be some lingering side effects that some men experience, including:
• Urinary incontinence (urine leaking)
• Erectile dysfunction (trouble getting and/or maintaining erections)
• Sexual dysfunction, (ejaculations reduced, sometimes erections are unaltered)
If you have lingering side effects, its best to speak to your urologist about the best way to manage these problems. In many cases with rehabilitation work of the pelvic floor, men’s symptoms will improve over the next 12 months. In some severe cases further, surgery may be needed to help with incontinence problems.
Dr Arianayagam is highly experienced urologist in Sydney, and is an expert in all aspects of prostate surgery, in particular, robotic radical prostatectomy.
Dr Arianayagam performs robotic radical prostatectomy at both Macquarie University Hospital and Nepean Public Hospital. Dr Arianayagam has performed over 400 robotic cases. He is a proctor for Device Technologies, who supply the Da Vinci Robotic System in Australia. Being a proctor means Dr Arianayagam is qualified to teach other surgeons to use this technique.