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Radical prostatectomy - discharge

Prostatectomy - radical - discharge; Radical retropubic prostatectomy - discharge; Radical perineal prostatectomy - discharge; Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy - discharge; LRP - discharge; Robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy - discharge; RALP - discharge; Pelvic lymphadenectomy - discharge; Prostate cancer - prostatectomy

You had surgery to remove all of your prostate, some tissue near your prostate, and probably some lymph nodes. This article tells you how to take care of yourself at home after the surgery.

When You're in the Hospital

You had surgery to remove all of your prostate, some tissue near your prostate, and probably some lymph nodes. This was done to treat prostate cancer.

What to Expect at Home

You may be tired and need more rest for 3 to 4 weeks after you go home. You may have pain or discomfort in your belly or the area between your scrotum and anus for 2 to 3 weeks.

You will go home with a catheter (tube) to drain urine from your bladder. This will be removed after 1 to 3 weeks.

You may go home with an additional drain (called a Jackson-Pratt, or JP drain). You will be taught how to empty it and care for it.

Wound Care

Change the dressing over your surgical wound once a day, or sooner if it becomes soiled. Your health care provider will tell you when you do not need to keep your wound covered. Keep the wound area clean by washing it with mild soap and water.

Your scrotum may be swollen for 2 to 3 weeks if you had open surgery. You may need to wear either a support (like a jock strap) or brief underwear until the swelling goes away. While you are in bed, you may use a towel under your scrotum for support.

You may have a drain (called a Jackson-Pratt, or JP drain) below your belly button that helps extra fluid drain from your body and prevent it from building up in your body. Your provider will take it out after 1 to 3 days.

Urinary Catheters

While you have a urinary catheter:

After your catheter is removed:

Other Self-care

Do not drive the first 3 weeks after you come home. Avoid long car trips if you can. If you need to take a long car trip, stop at least every 2 hours.

Do not lift anything heavier than a 1-gallon (4 liters) milk jug for the first 6 weeks. You can slowly work back up to your normal exercise routine after that. You can do everyday activities around the house if you feel up to it. But expect to get tired more easily.

Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and take stool softeners to prevent constipation. Do not strain during bowel movements.

Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), or other similar medicines for 2 weeks after your surgery. They may cause problems with blood clots.

Sexual Problems After Surgery

Sexual problems you may notice are:

These problems may get better or even go away, but it may take many months or more than a year. The lack of an ejaculate (semen coming out with orgasm) will be permanent. Ask your doctor about medicines that will help.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if:

While you have a urinary catheter, call your provider if:

Related Information

Prostate cancer
Retrograde ejaculation
Urinary incontinence
Radical prostatectomy
Kegel exercises - self-care
Urine drainage bags
Suprapubic catheter care
Urinary catheters - what to ask your doctor

References

Nelson WG, Antonarakis ES, Carter HB, De Marzo AM, et al. Prostate cancer. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 81.

Skolarus TA, Wolf AM, Erb NL, et al. American Cancer Society prostate cancer survivorship care guidelines. CA Cancer J Clin. 2014;64(4):225-249. PMID: 24916760 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24916760/.

Taneja SS, Bjurlin MA. Active management strategies for localized prostate cancer.. In: Partin AW, Domochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 153.

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Review Date: 4/18/2021  

Reviewed By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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