The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland in men.

It is located at the base of the bladder and wraps around the urethra.

Cancer of the prostate is one of the most common types of cancer in men.

Radical prostatectomy is a surgical procedure in which the prostate gland, surrounding tissue, and seminal vesicles are removed.

Depending on your situation, your surgeon may also choose to remove some lymph nodes.

Just before your surgery, an intravenous line will be started.

You may be given antibiotics through the IV to decrease your chance of infection.

You’ll be given general, spinal, or epidural anesthesia.

If you receive general anesthesia, a breathing tube will be inserted through your mouth and down your throat to help you breathe during the operation.

If you receive spinal or epidural anesthesia, you won’t need a breathing tube. You’ll be given sedation to help you relax.

Radical prostatectomy can take between 90 minutes and four hours.

Three different approaches may be used: open retropubic, open perineal or laparoscopic.

In an open retropubic prostatectomy, the prostate is removed through an incision in the lower part of the abdomen.

In an open perineal prostatectomy, the prostate is removed through an incision in the perineum, which lies between the rectum and the scrotum.

In laparoscopic prostatectomy, your surgeon places instruments into your abdominal cavity through small keyhole incisions, or “ports”.

He or she dissects the prostate from its surrounding structures and removes the gland through one of the slightly widened ports.

Depending on whether the cancer has spread, your surgeon may also remove tissue surrounding the prostate gland including the seminal vesicles and lymph nodes.

Regardless of the type of procedure, your surgeon will carefully inspect the area around the prostate before removing any tissue,

taking care to minimize damage to nerves in the area.

At the end of the operative procedure, a catheter will be put into your bladder to keep it drained;

this will usually be left in place for 10 days to 2 weeks after surgery.

Soon after your surgery, your breathing tube will be removed

and you will be taken to the post-surgical recovery area for monitoring.

You’ll be given pain medication as needed.

You may continue to receive antibiotics through your IV.

Your bladder may be flushed intermittently with a sterile solution to wash out accumulated blood and clots.

Most patients are released from the hospital two days after the procedure.