Before and After Prostatectomy

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What Are the Side Effects?

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.

Improved Outcomes Through Pre- and Post-Surgery Pelvic Floor Treatment

What Are the Side Effects?

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.

Urinary Incontinence

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 by seeking rehabilitation treatment before and after 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 Coregood Physiotherapy 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.

Erection Problems

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 near 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 Coregood Physiotherapy we can help strengthen and train the pelvic floor muscles that support erectile function, and help to stimulate nerve regeneration.


How we can help before and after surgery

  • Helping you optimise the strength, endurance and coordination of your pelvic floor muscles helps you reduce the severity of incontinence sooner
  • Giving you evidence based advice on penile maintenance and rehabilitation methods after surgery optimises the likelihood of optimal return to erectile function
  • We can supply you with a range of the best therapy tools like vacuum contraction devices (pumps), erectile aids (rings), continence aids and stimulators for penile maintenance and rehabilitation
Click through the tabs below for more information on treatment options

Pelvic Health Physio

The muscles of the pelvic floor are essential to urinary continence and optimal erectile function.

The medical research advocates that pelvic floor muscle training is a valid method to reduce the severity and duration of incontinence after radical prostatectomy.

With the use of Non Invasive Biofeedbackand Real Time Ultrasound Biofeedback we can assess your pelvic floors performance very accurately and make sure that you are certain of correct technique. Then pelvic floor and core work must be applied progressively to many daily activities and physical challenges through your day to gain the best continence possible.

Read more about Pelvic Health PhysioCall for an appointment


PelviPower Magnetic Field Therapy (MFT) uses repetitive magnetic impulses to trigger comfortable but powerful contractions of the pelvic floor and surrounding muscles.

With contractions much stronger than you can achieve yourself, the function, coordination and strength of the pelvic floor is improved helping to regain continence.

PelviPower Biofeedback Training (BFT) increases the perception, coordination and control of your pelvic floor because you see the efforts of your training presented to you in real time on a computer screen in front of you.  There is no need to undress as you train in your every day clothes.

Read more about PelviPowerCall for an appointment

Real Time Ultrasound Biofeedback

For the best effectiveness and outcomes it is important that you are recruiting your pelvic floor correctly. Men tend to favour using the back part of their pelvic floor however it is the front part that assists with erectile function and urinary continence. Visualising with ultrasound imaging helps you see and feel the correct action of your pelvic floor to achieve continence.

Read more about Real Time Ultrasound BiofeedbackCall for an appointment

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