Prostate surgery may be recommended when a patient is dealing with prostate cancer, or the prostate is enlarged to a point that it is causing significant issues. When an enlarged prostate is causing difficulty urinating, bladder infections or damage, is affecting the kidneys, or medications are not helping, many people turn to surgery.
Prostate surgery can be very helpful to many patients, eliminating the need for medications that work poorly or cause side effects, and relieving discomfort and other related problems. As with any surgery however, prostate removal can cause challenges during and after the recovery period.
Following prostate surgery, some patients may experience incontinence and/or erectile dysfunction, or in some cases, pain after the initial healing period. This can be a frightening prospect, and it is important that a patient can make an informed decision with their healthcare provider.
If considering prostate surgery, it is important to remember that the outcome is likely to be good, with an improved quality of life following the procedure.
Types of prostate surgery (prostatectomy)
There are three main types of prostate removal surgery.
- Open prostate surgery – this procedure is done under general anesthesia, using a small incision, usually in the lower abdomen
- Laparoscopic prostate surgery – this procedure is performed using five small incisions rather than one large one
- Robotic prostate surgery – this procedure is similar to laparoscopic surgery, however instead of performing the surgery manually, the surgeon uses a control panel to move robotic arms which perform the surgery
Laparoscopic surgery is often favored because the small incisions cause less abdominal trauma than a larger incision. Robotic surgery, while it sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, also has good outcomes, with data showing less bleeding and pain during and immediately after surgery, while long term outcomes are not notably better than other methods.
Recovery after prostate surgery
Most patients who have prostate surgery find that their symptoms are resolved, following the initial healing period.
If you have had prostate surgery and find that you are having side effects including incontinence, erectile dysfunction, or pain, pelvic floor physical therapy is an effective treatment for all of these issues.
As with any surgery, prostate surgery disrupts the delicate system of nerves that run through the body and can cause issues which include incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Healing tissue inside the body can form adhesions, spots where the tissue is unable to move as intended which can cause pain. Following the trauma of surgery, the pelvic floor (the muscles that serve as a cradle for many of the organs of the lower abdomen) can weaken or tighten, both of which can negatively affect the organ’s ability to function properly.
A physical therapist trained in treating pelvic floor dysfunction can address both nerve damage and adhesions by strengthening and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor. This can address the physical issues causing incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and pelvic pain.
Physical therapy following prostate surgery is extremely effective, with more than 85% of patients finding that pelvic floor physical therapy has significantly improved their outcomes.
Prostate surgery and physical therapy
When meeting with a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor dysfunction, you will share your medical history and symptoms along with other relevant information, and together, you and your therapist will develop a treatment plan. There may be exercises that you can do on your own which will aid in your recovery.
Body Restoration Physical Therapy is located in Roslyn Heights, New York, in Long Island’s Nassau County. Specializing in pelvic floor dysfunction, your experienced physical therapist is ready to help you eliminate your discomfort, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction. You’ve come this far; you deserve the comfort and confidence that physical therapy addressing your prostate surgery side effects can offer.