Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy
What you should know
Robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) is surgery to remove your prostate gland through small incisions in your abdomen. RALP is done with a machine that is controlled by your surgeon. The machine has mechanical arms that use small tools to remove your prostate.
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- You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your bladder, ureters (tubes that drain urine from your body), intestines, or rectum could be cut during surgery. After RALP, you may have problems urinating or having bowel movements. You may need more surgery to treat urination problems. You may not be able to have an erection after surgery. Your stitches may come apart. You may have a hernia or develop an abscess (deep infection). Your recovery may take longer if you need larger cuts in your abdomen.
- You may get a blood clot in your arm or leg. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. Even with surgery, the cancer may come back.
- If you do not have the prostatectomy, your signs and symptoms could get worse. Your cancer may spread to other areas of your body and be more difficult to treat.
The week before your surgery:
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Tell your caregiver about any other surgeries or cancer treatments you had. Tell your caregiver if you have had bleeding problems.
- You may need a blood transfusion if you lose a large amount of blood during surgery. You may be able to donate your own blood before surgery. You may also ask a family member or friend with the same blood type to donate blood for you.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- You may need to have tests done before surgery, such as blood tests or a chest x-ray. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
The day before your surgery:
- Clear liquid diet: You may have to stop eating solid food for up to 2 days before your surgery. You can drink water, broth, apple juice, or lemon-lime soft drinks. You may also suck on ice chips or eat gelatin.
- Bowel cleansing: You may be given medicine to drink or an enema to clean out your bowel.
The day of your surgery:
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- You may need to take antibiotic medicine to help prevent an infection caused by bacteria. You may get antibiotic medicine before and after your surgery.
What will happen:
- You will have monitors to check your heartbeat, blood pressure, and breathing. General anesthesia will keep you asleep during your surgery. A urinary catheter is put into your bladder to drain your urine. Caregivers will put stockings on your legs to apply pressure, which will help prevent blood clots. Your legs will then be placed in stirrups.
- The robotic arms place a laparoscope and other tools inside your abdomen through small cuts. A laparoscope is a long, thin tube with a light and camera on the end. A gas called carbon dioxide is pumped into your abdomen to inflate it. This gives caregivers room so they can see your prostate better. Your surgeon uses the camera to see inside your abdomen. He guides the robotic arms to cut the prostate away from other tissues. The prostate is removed through one of the small cuts in your abdomen. Lymph nodes may also be removed. Your surgeon uses the robotic arms to stitch your incisions closed.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a room where you can rest until you are fully awake. Bandages over your incisions will help prevent infection. A urinary catheter will drain your urine while you heal. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. Once caregivers see that you are not having any problems, you will be taken to your hospital room.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your surgery on time.
- You have a fever.
- Your signs and symptoms are getting worse.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.