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Prostate Cancer: Laparoscopic Prostate Surgery

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What Are The Side Effects?

Medical research so far shows that symptoms of incontinence and impotence are similar for both minimally invasive surgery and traditional surgery. Men usually return to normal urinary function within three months.

Because this technique is nerve-sparing, a man's postoperative sexual potency rate should be comparable to that of traditional surgery. However, laparoscopic surgery has not been in use long enough to truly assess whether it leads to higher rates of potency. But early results are promising.

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.

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