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Your Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

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Surgery for Prostate Cancer

Many different approaches are used, each with its own risks and benefits. As with any surgery, the outcome depends in large measure on the expertise of the surgeon. It’s crucial to find a surgeon with extensive experience in performing the type of surgery you choose.  

Open radical retropubic prostatectomy involves removing the prostate through a cut made in the lower abdomen. This technique allows surgeons to remove not only the prostate but also any nearby lymph nodes that have become cancerous. Nerve-sparing techniques are now widely used to preserve urinary control and sexual function. The operation typically requires two or three days in the hospital. Most men need a urinary catheter in place for one two weeks after the surgery. For cancers confined to the prostate, radical prostatectomy remains the most effective way to remove cancer.

Radical perineal prostatectomy involves removing the prostate through a cut made in the perineum, the area between the anus and scrotum. This approach typically causes less bleeding, but surgeons are unable to remove nearby lymph nodes, making it useful only when the cancer is confined to the prostate.

Robot-assisted radical prostatectomy is performed through five or six tiny “keyhole” cuts in the lower abdomen. Manipulating robot-like fingers that pass through these cuts, surgeons can remove the diseased prostate with minimal disturbance to healthy surrounding tissue. The technique also allows surgeons to remove cancerous lymph nodes. The principle advantage of this robot-assisted prostatectomy is a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time from surgery. 

Laparoscopic prostatectomy involves your surgeon making four or five very small cuts -- about a half inch each -- in the abdomen. The surgeon inserts tiny cameras and surgical tools through the cuts to remove the cancerous tissue.

Nerve-sparing surgery is performed by cutting prostate tissue carefully away from the nerve bundles without damaging them. This surgical technique was developed to potentially prevent erection difficulties that may occur after prostate surgery.

High-intensity focused ultrasound involves delivering high energy to the affected area using ultrasound waves. Cancer cells heat up and are destroyed.

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