What happens after surgery?

After a prostatectomy you will have a drip (intravenous infusion) into a vein in your arm, and a tube (catheter) to drain urine from the bladder. If you’ve had an open prostatectomy you’ll have either an abdominal wound or a wound between your scrotum and your anus. If you’ve had a laparoscopic prostatectomy you will have several small wounds. You may have a small tube in the wound to drain any excess fluid that is produced. This tube is usually removed after a few days.

You may have some pain or discomfort, which might continue for a few weeks, particularly when you walk. Taking painkillers regularly should ease this. Let the staff on the ward know if you’re still in pain.

You will probably be ready to go home 3–7 days after open surgery or 1–2 days after laparoscopic surgery.

Your catheter will usually stay in place for a short while after you go home. This allows urine to drain freely while the urethra heals and any swelling goes down. It can be removed at the outpatient clinic 1–3 weeks after the operation. A district nurse can visit you at home if needed to make sure your catheter is working well. If you have any problems, contact your doctor, specialist nurse or the ward where you had your surgery as soon as possible.

If you think you might have any difficulties coping at home after your surgery, tell your nurse or social worker when you’re admitted to hospital. They can arrange help.

Before you leave hospital you’ll be given an outpatient appointment for your post-operative check-up. This is a good time to discuss any problems you may have.

Most men return to their normal activities 4–12 weeks after surgery for prostate cancer. It will depend on the type of surgery you have had (open or laparoscopic) and your work or home circumstances.

Back to Surgery explained

Who might I meet?

A team of specialists will plan your surgery. This will include a surgeon who specialises in your type of cancer.