Prostate Cancer: Laparoscopic Prostate Surgery
How Do I Prepare For Surgery?
Your surgeon will meet with you to answer any questions you may have. You will be asked questions about your health history and your doctor will give you a general physical exam. If your intestine requires cleaning, you will be given a prescription for a laxative medicine to take the evening before the surgery.
All patients are asked to provide a blood sample. Depending on your age and general health, you may also have an EKG (electrocardiogram), a chest X-ray, lung function tests, or other tests to evaluate your body's ability to handle the stress of surgery.
Finally, you will meet with an anesthesiologist who will discuss the type of anesthesia you will be given for surgery. You will also learn about pain control after the operation, which might include a PCA (patient-controlled analgesia) pump.
What Happens During Surgery?
Your surgeon will place a small needle just below your belly button and insert it into your abdominal cavity. The needle is connected to a small tube that passes carbon dioxide into the abdomen. This gas lifts the abdominal wall to give the surgeon a better view of the abdominal cavity once the laparoscope is in place. The surgeon will then be guided by the laparoscope, which transmits a picture of the prostate onto a video monitor.
Next, a small incision will be made near your belly button. The laparoscope is placed through this incision and is connected to a video camera. The image your surgeon sees in the laparoscope is projected onto video monitors placed near the operating table.
Before starting the surgery, the surgeon will take a thorough look at your abdominal cavity to make sure the laparoscopy procedure will be safe for you. If the surgeon sees scar tissue, infection, or abdominal disease, the procedure will not be continued.
If the surgeon decides the surgery can be safely performed, additional small incisions will be made, giving him or her access to the abdominal cavity. If necessary, one of these small incisions may be enlarged to remove the pelvic lymph nodes.
What Happens After Surgery?
You can expect to follow a liquid diet at first, then gradually be able to eat solid foods. When you go home, you will follow a soft diet, which generally means no raw fruits or vegetables. A dietitian can provide more specific dietary guidelines.
Nausea and vomiting commonly occur because the intestines are temporarily disabled during anesthesia and surgery. Your doctor can prescribe medications to relieve these symptoms, which will improve a few days after surgery.
You will be encouraged to get out of bed and walk as much as possible, starting the first day after surgery. You should steadily increase your activity after you go home. For six weeks after surgery, you should not lift or push anything over 30 pounds, and should not do abdominal exercises such as sit-ups.