doctors performing surgery

What to Expect While Recovering From Prostate Surgery

Prostate surgery, sometimes referred to as a prostatectomy, is a procedure where all or part of your prostate is surgically removed. In most cases, this is done because of prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia. Prostate surgery will involve your doctor making an incision or several small incisions on your lower stomach so they can access and remove your prostate gland.

Although recovering from prostate surgery is painful and difficult, the surgery is often performed as a life-saving measure. It can keep cancer from spreading to other parts of the body and becoming terminal and allow you to live a long and healthy life.

Types of Prostate Surgery

There are several different surgical options when it comes to removing your prostate gland. Some are more invasive than others, and it will be up to you and your surgeon to decide which option is right for you.

Prostatectomy: Open, Laparoscopic, and Robotic

A prostatectomy is the most common type of prostate surgery. This is a procedure where your entire prostate gets removed or only the part that’s cancerous. There are several different ways that this surgery can get performed.

  • Open Prostatectomy
    An open prostatectomy is the most invasive and least-used surgical option. It involves making a large incision on your stomach so your doctor can remove the prostate gland.
  • Laparoscopic Prostatectomy
    During a laparoscopic procedure, your doctor will make several tiny incisions on your stomach and remove your prostate with limited invasiveness.
  • Robotic Prostatectomy
    With this method, your surgery is performed by doctors using robotic technology and tools.
doctors performing surgery

Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)

If you have an enlarged prostate and need to make it smaller, you will need a transurethral resection of the prostate. During a TURP, your doctor inserts a resectoscope through the tip of the penis and trims away excess parts of the prostate to make it smaller. This method is effective for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia but not cancer.

Post-Surgery: Initial Days

Your post-surgery recovery will vary depending on what type of procedure you received. In most cases, though, you’ll have to stay at the hospital overnight or for two days to recover.

Pain Management and Controlling Discomfort

In the days following your surgery, it’s important to keep your pain under control. While ibuprofen or Tylenol might be adequate, you may also need prescription pain medications from your doctor. Take these medications as directed and only when the pain becomes too much. Because hydration and vitamin intake are important, you will also benefit from investing in a recovery IV treatment.

Potential Risks and Complications

As with all surgeries, there are definite risks involved with prostate surgery, especially a prostatectomy.

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Recurring UTIs
  • Cyst formation
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Internal bleeding
man holding his stomach in pain

The Recovery Timeline for Prostate Surgery

For the first few weeks after you return home, you will need to get lots of rest, stay hydrated, and take your recovery slow. Additionally, you should avoid sexual activity for a month or until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. You will also need to wear a catheter for a week or two following your surgery until the incision site heals.

Long-term Recovery and Outlook

In general, people can live long, full, and healthy lives without their prostate. It’s important, however, to follow your doctor’s instructions during recovery and to learn to cope with the physical changes that occur as a result of not having a prostate.

Post-Surgery Care and Rehabilitation

Following your surgery, it will be important to take care of your wound. Make sure that the incision site stays dry and clean it according to your doctor’s instructions. It’s important to take your recovery slow, so you should avoid heavy physical activity, exercise, and lifting heavy objects for at least six weeks. Limit your activity to walking and light calisthenics if your doctor says it’s ok.

Managing Side Effects: Incontinence and Erectile Dysfunction

The biggest adjustments you’ll have to make are regarding urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Without your prostate, it will be harder to hold in urine, and you may experience occasional accidents or dribbling. Kegel exercises and medications can keep this issue to a minimum.

Additionally, it’s common for men who have their prostate removed to experience erectile dysfunction for several months. While this problem is often treatable with medications, you may require vacuum devices or penile injections.

Managing Health After Prostate Surgery

It’s important to manage your health following prostate surgery properly. Your doctor will likely want to see you for follow-up appointments twice in the first month after your surgery and again around the three to six-month mark.

Nutritional Considerations for Healing and Wellness

In the long term, you shouldn’t have to make any major dietary changes. After your surgery, however, you should avoid high-fiber foods and eat small, frequent meals rather than occasional large ones.

Psychological Well-being and Support

In addition to physical changes, prostate removal surgery takes a toll on your mental health. It will be tough for a man to struggle with urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and infertility. It’s important to seek the mental support you need from qualified counselors and psychologists if you start feeling depressed.

Returning to Daily Life

In most cases, you can start walking on the day of the surgery, but you won’t make a full recovery for one to two months. If you don’t have a physically demanding job, you can return to work in a week or two, but you should wait for one to two months if your job requires heavy lifting or activity.

woman walking in nature

Navigating Potential Setbacks

It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs of complication following prostate surgery.

  • Ongoing erectile dysfunction
  • Bleeding
  • Signs of infection
  • Constipation
  • Inability to urinate
  • Blood in your urine


Living life without a prostate is difficult, but it’s absolutely necessary if you have prostate cancer. Prostate surgery is a life-saving procedure that can give you more time with the ones you love. It’s essential to be patient in the weeks and months following your surgery and to take your recovery slow. You should also take measures to address your mental health if you start feeling down or depressed following prostate removal.

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