The removal of the prostate gland, or prostatectomy, is a treatment option for prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate. The surgery is considered complex and complications can occur.
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system, is located below the bladder, and surrounds part of the urethra, according to WebMD
. The prostate is responsible for semen production.
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Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or enlarged prostate, has the potential to squeeze the urethra which can disrupt urination. If the symptoms become severe enough and other treatments have not been successful, then surgery to remove the prostate may be necessary.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center explains that in the case of prostate cancer
, a radical prostatectomy may be needed. This is the removal of the entire prostate gland and surrounding tissue.
Patients are often concerned they will lose urinary and sexual function after the complex surgery.
Complications are usually dependent upon different factors such as age, the progression of the cancer, and baseline function prior to surgery. Complication risks also increase when a patient has received radiation treatment prior to surgery.
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During surgery, total removal of the cancer is always the goal. This may require the removal of some of the nerve tissue that induces an erection as the nerves sit right up against the prostate, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Consequently, erectile dysfunction is a possible side effect of prostate removal. If erectile function does not return after surgery, prescription drugs are available to treat erectile dysfunction.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate removal
may cause urinary incontinence. Normal bladder function and control usually return in stages within several weeks or months after prostate removal. If urinary side effects can’t be corrected, incontinence can be treated and managed.
Other possible effects from prostate removal, according to the American Cancer Society, include changes in orgasm, infertility, lymphedema, and inguinal hernia.
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