After surgery, you spend two days in our care at the hospital before being allowed to go home. You have your own private room, and are able to host visitors if you so wish.
The day after surgery
- Oxygen tubing, drains and drips are removed in the morning after tea and toast. You will be seen personally by your surgeon, who will have a chat with you about how you are getting on and discuss how the operation went.
- You will be given regular pain killing tablets and an injection in the arm to thin the blood and prevent clots in the legs from forming.
- Your catheter bag will be swapped for a smaller version that can be strapped to your thigh (known as a ‘leg bag’) so you can move around.
- You will be encouraged to sit in your chair in the morning and go for a short walk around the ward in the afternoon before or after a nap.
Day 2 after surgery
- You will be encouraged to get dressed after breakfast and to be rather more active than on the previous day.
- You will be instructed on catheter care, be told what to expect over the next few days (blood in the urine, bathing, driving, lifting and so on) in preparation for discharge the following morning.
Day 3 after surgery
You are now allowed to go home to continue your recovery.
- You will have your catheter removed at 2 weeks after surgery.
- At 4 weeks after surgery, you will return for an appointment to discuss the pathology result - the analysis of your prostate to determine the final grade and stage of your cancer.
- During the first year, you will have a consultation every 3 months to discuss your recent PSA level, continence and potency.
- After the first year and for the next four years, these consultations will be every six months.
- After five years, you are then discharged into the care of your GP who will conduct annual PSA tests.
Why do we continue to check your PSA level after a prostatectomy?
This confuses most patients. After all, if the prostate has been removed - what is the point? Once the prostate has been removed the PSA should fall to very low levels (tiny amounts of PSA are produced by the breast tissue and salivary glands) – effectively zero.
If cancerous cells move out of the prostate before an operation is done and lodge in other parts of the body, because they had originated in the prostate these cells will make PSA wherever they are. That PSA will then be detectable in a blood test. So a detectable PSA following radical prostatectomy is a sign that the body contains prostate cancer cells (but the test doesn’t tell you where) whereas an undetectable PSA (less than 0.1 ng/ml) results tells you that there are no prostate cancer cells anywhere in the body.
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