Let’s Talk About It
What is Radical Prostatectomy?
Radical Prostatectomy is an operation to treat prostate cancer by removing the cancerous tumour, either by laparoscopic or open surgery.
In most cases it will include the removal the prostate gland, some of the tissue around it, including the ‘internal sphincter’ muscle at the base of the bladder, the seminal vesicles and sometimes the set of nerves to the penis that affect the man’s ability to have an erection.
Radical Prostatectomy is generally effective in treating prostate cancer that has not spread.
What Are the Side Effects?
First of all, Radical Prostatectomy is an entirely appropriate procedure for the treatment of prostate cancer. Patients with localised cancer who undergo the surgery will generally be given a positive prognosis.
But, given the invasive nature of the surgery, there can be a number of significant side effects to the surgery, including:
- Urinary Incontinence
- Erectile Dysfunction, and
- Damage to the urethra and/or rectum.
It should be noted that radiation therapy for prostate cancer can also cause urinary incontinence and/or erectile dysfunction.
Around 1 in 2 men who undergo Radical Prostatectomy will develop urinary incontinence post-surgery, ranging from occasional dribbling to the need to use incontinence products, such as pads.
Some men find post-surgery issues like incontinence (and erectile dysfunction) quickly improve by themselves without the need for further treatment, most men will take up to 6 months to recover, others may take up to 12 months, while some men may never fully recover.
But, whatever the situation they find themselves in, almost all men will be able to speed their recovery time and improve its overall effectiveness by seeking rehabilitation treatment following surgery.
This is because the ‘internal sphincter’ muscle at the base of the bladder, which helps to control urine flow, is typically removed along with the prostate gland. And while the body can still control bladder function without this muscle, most men need help doing this.
At the Coregood Institute we help men to achieve successful post-surgery outcomes by helping them to strengthen and train their ‘external sphincter’ and pelvic floor muscles to take over their bladder control function.
We can also help to prepare the pelvic floor muscles pre-surgery by making sure they are strong and functioning properly. This will aid in the recovery time and effectiveness post-surgery.
Alongside urinary incontinence, erection problems are the other common side effect of Radical Prostatectomy. This can obviously have a devastating effect on a man’s confidence and sexual health.
Erection issues arise when the nerves that control a man’s ability to have an erection are damaged or removed during surgery (they lie next to the prostate gland so it’s common for this to happen).
While around 50% of men are able to regain some ability to have erections, it can take time – sometimes as little as 3 months, but most often between 6-12 months.
A lot of this will depend on whether the man was able to have an erection before surgery, the level of nerve damage that has occurred during surgery, and the age of the man at the time of surgery.
Thankfully, seeking professional medical advice and treatment can improve both the rate and level of your recovery.
At the Coregood Institute we can help strengthen and train the pelvic floor muscles that support erectile function, and help to stimulate nerve regeneration.
Improved Outcomes Through Pre- and Post-Surgery Pelvic Floor Treatment
Strong pelvic floor muscles are important for both bladder control and sexual function.
Research has shown that men who seek treatment to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles prior to Radical Prostatectomy are often able to recover bladder and erectile control faster than those men who don’t.
But even if it isn’t possible to start pre-operatively, pelvic floor treatment can still deliver positive results if it is undertaken post-operatively.
Clearly a combination of both pre- and post-surgery treatment is the optimum strategy.
Recover Bladder and Erectile Function Following Radical Prostatectomy
While incontinence and erectile dysfunction are common side effects from Radical Prostatectomy, they don’t need to become permanent issues. Most men are able to successfully recover from these conditions following surgery.
At the Coregood Institute we can offer a full range of non-surgical treatment options, and tailor a treatment plan to suit your particular situation and needs.
Alongside traditional pelvic physiotherapy treatment options and advice on pelvic floor strengthening and penile tissue maintenance, we also offer patients treatment using the world’s most advanced and successful non-surgical technology – the PelviCenter.
We’re also able to offer effective natural solutions and nutritional advice to treat and help you better manage your condition.