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Health Information Center


  • Deanna M. Neff, MPH
Publication Type:



(Prostate Gland Removal)


A prostatectomy is a surgery to remove the prostate gland. The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. It makes and stores the milky fluid that forms part of semen. The gland sits below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) runs through the prostate gland.

The procedure may be:

  • Simple prostatectomy—part of the prostate is removed
  • Radical prostatectomy—the entire prostate and some surrounding tissue is removed
Anatomy of the Prostate.

Anatomy of the Prostate Glandhttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=25482548si1208.jpgAnatomy of the Prostate GlandNULLjpgAnatomy of the Prostate GlandNULL\\filer01\Intellect\images\si1208.jpgCopyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.22NULL2002-10-012553912548_14854Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

A simple prostatectomy may be done to remove an enlarged prostate that is not cancerous. A common cause of this type of growth is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It can interfere with the flow of urine out of the body. The surgery is done to remove extra tissue that is blocking the flow.

A radical prostatectomy may be done to remove a prostate gland and lymph nodes that have cancer.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Problems controlling urine—incontinence
  • Erectile dysfunction and other sexual side effects
  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • Infertility
  • Injury to the rectum or other nearby structures
  • Narrowing of the urethra or bladder neck

Things that may increase the risk of problems include:

  • Obesity
  • Lung, kidney, liver, or heart disease
  • Smoking
  • Problems with alcohol or drug use
  • Use of some prescription medicines
  • Diabetes, other long term health issues, or a recent illness

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
  • Redness, swelling, more pain, a lot of bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
  • Nausea or vomiting that does not go away
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines given
  • Poor drainage from the catheter
  • Belly swelling or pain
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Headaches, muscle aches, light-headedness, or general ill feeling
  • Constipation
  • Problems urinating (peeing):
    • Pain or burning
    • Having to urinate suddenly or often
    • Blood in the urine that does not go away

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Prior to Procedure

Before surgery your doctor may do:

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Any allergies you may have
  • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and if you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before




  • Basiri, A., de la Rosette, J.J., et al. Comparison of retropubic, laparoscopic and robotic radical prostatectomy: who is the winner? World Journal of Urology, 2018; 36: 609-621.
  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia-bph.
  • Prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/prostate-cancer.
  • Prostate cancer treatments—health professional. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/hp/prostate-treatment-pdq.


  • Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.