What is pelvic exenteration in men?

The pelvic exenteration operation

Pelvic exenteration is an operation that involves removing the bladder, rectum and prostate. This operation is only done if there are no signs of cancer anywhere else in the body.

Only specialist surgeons, who are trained and experienced in doing this type of surgery, should carry out pelvic exenteration. You may be referred to a specialist centre for the operation.

It is important to discuss the benefits and risks with your surgeon, before making a decision about the operation. This is a major operation, but can cure the cancer in some people.

Before the operation, you will be referred to a specialist cancer nurse. They will give you information and emotional support. In some units, the specialist nurse may be called your key worker.

After the operation, you’ll have two new openings (stomas) on your tummy wall. One of these will be a new place for urine to leave your body, called a urostomy. The other will be a new place for bowel motions to leave your body, called a colostomy.

The male pelvic organs. The areas removed during total pelvic exenteration are shaded over.
The male pelvic organs. The areas removed during total pelvic exenteration are shaded over.

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When pelvic exenteration may be done in men

This operation may be used to treat men who have rectal cancer that has come back in the pelvis after treatment. Rarely, pelvic exenteration may be used to treat other cancers in the pelvis.

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Having pelvic exenteration

Pelvic exenteration takes about eight hours. After the operation, you will have new ways for urine and bowel motions to leave your body.