Prostatectomy - what is it and how will if affect my continence?
What is a prostatectomy?
Prostatectomy is surgery to remove all or part of the prostate gland. The primary function of the prostate is to produce seminal fluid. It is situated below the bladder, surrounding the urethra. The urethra is the structure which carries urine from the bladder to the penis.
A Prostatectomy is usually performed to remove prostate cancer. There are two different techniques which can be undertaken:
1. Robotic assisted radical prostatectomy, whereby small incisions are made in the tummy for the computer assisted mechanical device, while the surgeon sits at a console controlling the instruments
2. Open radical prostatectomy, whereby a larger incision is made in your lower tummy to remove the prostate.
How will a Prostatectomy affect continence?
Some of the muscles involved in bladder control are removed along with the prostate during a prostatectomy. This means that there is often a period post-operatively that you will leak urine. For some men, this may last just a few weeks, and for others it may last for many months, or even longer term. A pad is often required post operatively to manage continence issues until continence is regained. Leakage may happen randomly, or It may happen with certain activities such as walking, sit to stand, cough/sneeze.
How can pelvic floor exercises help with post-operative incontinence?
The pelvic floor muscles are involved in bowel and bladder control. When exercising these muscles, it can help to regain continence after a prostatectomy. Best results have been noted when starting the exercise program pre-operatively. It is very important to ensure that these exercises are done correctly. At the Physiotherapy Clinic in Cammeray, Bondi Junction and the shire (Woolooware) we have physios who specialise in men’s health will be able to assess the pelvic floor and teach the correct technique.