What happens immediately after the procedure?
In general terms, you should expect to be told how the procedure went and you should:
• Ask if what was planned to be done was achieved
• Let the medical staff know if you are in any discomfort
• Ask what you can and cannot do
Feel free to ask any questions or discuss any concerns with the ward staff and members of the surgical team.
Ensure that you are clear about what has been done and what is the next move.
There is always some bleeding from the prostate area after the operation. The urine is usually clear of blood after 12 hours, although some patients lose more blood for longer. It is unusual to require a blood transfusion after laser surgery.
It is useful to drink as much fluid as possible in the first 12 hours after the operation because this helps the urine clear of any blood more quickly. Sometimes, fluid is flushed through the catheter to clear the urine of blood.
You will be able to eat and drink on the same day as the operation when you feel able to.
The catheter is generally removed the following morning after surgery. After checking that you have passed urine, the doctors can decide whether you may go home without the catheter. At first, it may be painful to pass your urine and it may come more frequently than normal. Any initial discomfort can be relieved by tablets or injections and the frequency usually improves within a few days.
Some of your symptoms, especially frequency, urgency and getting up at night to pass urine, may not improve for several months because these are often due to bladder over-activity (which takes time to resolve after prostate surgery) rather than prostate blockage.
Since a large portion of prostate tissue is removing with the laser technique, there may be some temporary loss of urinary control until your pelvic floor muscles strengthen and recover.
It is not unusual for your urine to turn bloody again for the first 24-48 hours after catheter removal. Some blood may be visible in the urine even several weeks after surgery but this is not usually a problem. Let your nurse know if you are unable to pass urine and feel as if your bladder is full after the catheter is removed.
Some patients, particularly those with small prostate glands, are unable to pass urine all after the operation due to temporary swelling of the prostate area. If this should happen, we normally pass a catheter again to allow the swelling to resolve and the bladder to regain its function. Usually, patients who require re-catheterisation go home with a catheter in place and then return within a week for a second catheter removal which is successful in almost all cases.
The average hospital stay is 1-2 days.
Are there any side effects?
Most procedures have a potential for side-effects. You should be reassured that, although all these complications are well-recognized, the majority of patients do not suffer any problems after a urological procedure..
Common (greater than 1 in 10)
•Temporary mild burning, bleeding and frequency of urination after the procedure
•No semen is produced during an orgasm in approximately 75% If the prostate is fully enucleated
•Treatment may not relieve all the urinary symptoms
•Poor erections (impotence in approximately <5%)
• Infection of the bladder, testes or kidney requiring antibiotics
• Need to repeat treatment later due to re-obstruction (approx 10%)
• Injury to the urethra causing delayed scar formation
• Loss of urinary control (incontinence) which reduces within 6 weeks (10-15%); this can usually be improved with pelvic floor exercises
Occasional((between 1 in 10 and 1 in 50))
• May need self-catheterisation to empty bladder fully If bladder weak
• Failure to pass urine after surgery requiring a new catheter
• Bleeding requiring return to theatre and/or blood transfusion (less than 2%)
Rare (less than 1 in 50)
• Finding unsuspected cancer in the removed tissue which may need further treatment
• Retained tissue fragments floating in the bladder which may require a second telescopic procedure for their removal
• Perforation of the bladder requiring a temporary urinary catheter or open surgical repair
• Persistent loss of urinary control which may require a further operation (1- 2%)
• Hospital-acquired infection
• Colonization with MRSA (0.9% – 1 in 110)
• Clostridium difficile bowel infection (0.01% – 1 in 10,000)
• MRSA bloodstream infection (0.02% – 1 in 5000)
The rates for hospital-acquired infection may be greater in high-risk patients e.g. with long-term drainage tubes, after removal of the bladder for cancer, after previous infections, after prolonged hospitalisation or after multiple admissions
What should I expect when I get home?
By the time of your discharge from hospital, you should:
• Be given advice about your recovery at home • Ask when to resume normal activities such as work, exercise, driving, housework and sexual intimacy
• Ask for a contact number if you have any concerns once you return home
• Ask when your follow-up will be and who will do this (the hospital or your GP)
• Ensure that you know when you will be told the results of any tests done on tissues or organs which have been removed
When you leave hospital, you will be given a “draft” discharge summary of your admission. This holds important information about your inpatient stay and your operation. If you need to call your GP for any reason or to attend another hospital, please take this summary with you to allow the doctors to see details of your treatment. This is particularly important if you need to consult another doctor within a few days of your discharge.
Most patients feel tired and below par for a week or two because this is major surgery. You may notice that you pass very small flecks of tissue in the urine at times within the first month as the prostate area heals. This does not usually interfere with the urinary stream or cause discomfort.
What should I look out for?
If you experience increasing frequency, burning or difficulty on passing urine or worrying bleeding, contact your GP.
About 1 man in 5 experiences bleeding some 10-14 days after getting home; this is due to scabs separating from the cavity of the prostate. Increasing your fluid intake should stop this bleeding quickly but, If it does not, you should contact your GP who will prescribe some antibiotics for you.
In the event of severe bleeding, passage of clots or sudden difficulty in passing urine, you should contact your GP immediately since it may be necessary for you to be re-admitted to hospital.
Are there any other important points?
Removal of your prostate should not adversely affect your sex life provided you are getting normal erections before the surgery. Sexual activity can be resumed as soon as you are comfortable, usually after 3-4 weeks.
It is often helpful to start pelvic floor exercises as soon as possible after the operation since this can improve your control when you get home. The symptoms of an overactive bladder may take 3 months to resolve whereas the flow is improved immediately.
If you need any specific information on these exercises, please contact the ward staff or the Specialist Nurses. The symptoms of an overactive bladder may take 3 months to resolve whereas the flow is improved immediately.
The results of any tissue removed will be available after 14 – 21 days and you and You and your GP will be informed of the results by letter.
You will be reviewed in the outpatient clinic and several tests repeated (including a flow rate, bladder scan & symptom score) to help assess the effects of the surgery.
Most patients require a recovery period of 1-2 weeks at home before they feel ready for work. We recommend 3-4 weeks’ rest before resuming any job, especially If it is physically strenuous and you should avoid any heavy lifting during this time.
Driving after surgery
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fit to drive following your surgery.
You do not normally need to notify the DVLA unless you have a medical condition that will last for longer than 3 months after your surgery and may affect your ability to drive.
You should, however, check with your insurance company before returning to driving. Your doctors will be happy to provide you with advice on request.