Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Prostate Cancer - Surgery

Surgery for prostate cancer may be done to:

  • Remove the prostate and its cancer (prostatectomy). Nearby lymph nodes also may be removed to check for cancer (lymphadenectomy) during a prostatectomy.
  • Fix urinary problems that are caused by a tumor pressing on the urethra (transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP).

Radical prostatectomy

Radical prostatectomy is an operation to remove the entire prostate and any nearby tissue that may contain cancer. It can be done as open surgery through an incision (cut) in the belly, or as laparoscopic surgery through several very small incisions in the belly. Laparoscopic surgery to remove the prostate is done with a tiny camera and special tools. Sometimes lymph nodes in the area also are removed so that they can be checked for signs of cancer. This is called a lymph node biopsy.

  • Nerve-sparing surgery helps preserve the nerves that are along the side of the prostate and that are needed for an erection. This is only done when there is little chance of leaving cancer cells behind. If you already have sexual function issues, nerve-sparing surgery may not be the best choice for you.
  • Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is surgery done through small incisions in the belly with robotic arms that translate the surgeon's hand motions into finer and more precise movements. This surgery requires specially trained doctors.

Surgery may completely remove your prostate cancer. But it isn't possible to know for sure before surgery whether the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. When cancer has spread, it can't always be cured with surgery alone.

Prostate Cancer: Should I Have Radiation or Surgery for Localized Prostate Cancer?

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man with doctor
    Symptoms, risks, treatments
    man coughing
    Men shouldn’t ignore
    prostate cancer cells
    What does this diagnosis mean?
    doctor and male patient
    Is it worth it?
    cancer fighting foods
    15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
    Prostate Enlarged
    Picture Of The Prostate
    Prostate Cancer Quiz
    screening tests for men
    Prostate Cancer Symptoms
    Vitamin D