Radical retropubic prostatectomy

For this operation, the surgeon makes an incision (cut) in your lower abdomen, from the belly button down to the pubic bone. You will either be under general anesthesia (asleep) or be given spinal or epidural anesthesia (numbing the lower half of the body) along with sedation during the surgery.


If there is a reasonable chance the cancer might have spread to nearby lymph nodes (based on your PSA level, prostate biopsy results, and other factors), the surgeon may also remove some of these lymph nodes at this time (known as a lymph node biopsy). The nodes are usually sent to the lab to see if they have cancer cells (which can take a few days to get results), but in some cases the nodes may be looked at during the surgery. If this is done and cancer cells are found in any of the nodes, the surgeon might not continue with the surgery. This is because it’s unlikely that the cancer can be cured with surgery, and removing the prostate could lead to serious side effects.


After the surgery, while you are still under anesthesia, a catheter (thin, flexible tube) will be put in your penis to help drain your bladder. The catheter will usually stay in place for 1 to 2 weeks while you heal. You will be able to urinate on your own after the catheter is removed.