A Prostatectomy, like any other major surgery, requires some down time. Typically it requires 2 to 4 days at the hospital. For 1 to 3 weeks after the surgery, a catheter is inserted into the bladder to empty urine.
Your doctor will likely develop a follow-up regimen with you. These follow up visits may include the following: PSA tests, physical exams, digital rectal exams(DRE), and biopsies if needed.
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What is a PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen)?
PSA is a chemical that is developed by the prostate. The amount of PSA in the blood increases as the size of the prostate increases, making it an indicator of cancer in the prostate. It is not a definitive marker for cancer since there are other non-cancerous reasons for prostate enlargement including: injury, inflammation of the prostate, rectal examination, and sexual activity. PSA testing is generally done every 3 to 6 months for 1 to 2 years after the prostatectomy.
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What is a DRE (Digital Rectal Examination)?
A DRE is an examination in which the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger up the rectum and checks for abnormalities. During this procedure the patient is either bending down or lying on his side. It is often used to detect tumors in the prostate, which generally feel like hard bumps. It is not 100% accurate, since some tumors can be difficult to feel out. Although the procedure isn’t very painful, you may experience some discomfort when pressure is applied to the prostate.
Impotence is the biggest side effect from a prostatectomy. About 40-85% of patients were impotent for 18 months after surgery. Roughly 23% eventually gain the ability to have erections sufficient for vaginal intercourse. Note that it is impossible to ejaculate after a prostatectomy, but the ability to experience an orgasm is intact. Other side effects include urinary incontinence and genitourinary(waste and reproduction) problems.
One of the most embarrassing side effects of prostatectomy is the shrinkage of the penis, both in circumference and length. In a clinical study, 63% of patients who didn’t use a vacuum erection device after a prostatectomy suffered from penis shrinkage. Those who used a vacuum erection device maintained their pre-operation penis size. In a clinical study, patients who used a vacuum erection device had high satisfaction rates(over 80%).
Vitality Medical representatives are trained to provide knowledgeable information for help in selecting a vacuum erectile device for help with erectile dysfunction. Our goal is to help our customers return to a satisfying and rewarding sexual experience. We offer a variety of medically approved vacuum erection devices to help you achieve satisfying sexual intimacy. These FDA-approved products include the Osbon ErecAid System, the Postvac Erection System, and the Encore Impo Aid.
WebMD – Radical Prostatectomy
BMJ – Impotence More Common After Prostatectomy Than Previously Thought
International Journal of Impotence Research – C. Zippe et al. “Sexual Dysfunction After Pelvic Surgery” International Journal of Impotence Research (2006) 18, 1-18. 23 Jun 2005.
International Journal of Impotence Research – R. Raina et al. “Early use of vacuum constriction device following radical prostatectomy facilitates early sexual activity and potentially earlier return of erectile function.” International Journal of Impotence Research, 18, 72-81. 2006.
WebMD – Erectile Dysfunction: Prostate Cancer
eMedicine – Prostate Cancer: Radical Perineal Prostatectomy
Mayo Clinic – Erectile Dysfunction overview
Urology Channel – Another Erectile Dysfunction overview
eMedicineHealth – Impotence/Erectile Dysfunction Introduction