When you’re on the verge of surgery on your prostate gland, there are many questions you probably want to ask.
We share what to expect after prostate surgery, including what to wear, what to avoid, and tips for recovery.
Keep reading to learn more.
What to expect after prostate surgery
What to expect after the prostate is removed? When you’re out of the surgery table, you will first go through an immediate recovery period in the hospital.
Your hospital stay depends on the type of surgery you went through and if you had any complications. Most patients return home after 2 to 4 days, while others take longer to recover.
During this time, pain management is fundamental, and your healthcare team will evaluate how your wound heals and if you have any immediate post-surgery complications.
They are less likely to happen in robotic prostate surgery and laparoscopic procedures because the incisions are smaller and faster to heal. That’s why laparoscopic and robotic prostatectomy recovery times are usually reduced.
However, this period is still uncomfortable because you’ll have a foley catheter placed after a prostatectomy or any other type of prostate surgery. You will also need to carry the collection bag and have a restricted diet without milk, dairy products, red meat, and other foods to avoid.
Stool softeners are also very common post-prostate surgery because you need to facilitate your bowel movements and avoid pushing or straining.
What to wear after prostate surgery
Part of your preparation for post-prostatectomy recovery requires getting the right clothes to wear and equipment to keep at hand. So, let’s clear a few doubts about clothes.
First off, can you wear underwear during prostate surgery? Some people feel particularly shy before prostate surgery and prefer to go to the surgery table with their underwear.
The problem with wearing your underwear is that it is not sterile and can increase the risk of infections. That’s why you’re given a sterile hospital gown to cover yourself when preparing for surgery.
Right after prostate surgery, you will have a catheter in place with a drainage bag. At first, you will remain in the hospital gown for a while.
But since the wound is closed and dressed, you can use blankets and other materials to cover from cold in the observation period. This period only lasts a few hours to rule out a side effect or immediate complications of anesthetics.
When the anesthetics wear out completely after prostate surgery, and you’re in your bed, you can change and use your underwear, pants, and shirt. But make sure they are loose and made of a soft material that won’t irritate your skin.
Use blankets or something similar instead of tight clothing if the hospital environment feels cold. Loose clothing will reduce the risk of infections, and they feel much more comfortable.
As long as you have a catheter in place, you don’t need to worry about urine leaks. Catheter and drainage bag removal after prostatectomy means you will need to use incontinence supplies for a while.
For example, underpads or an old washcloth, just in case of an accident. In most cases, a light pad is enough to hold a small urine leak in case of urinary stress incontinence.
Another doubt patients usually have is whether they can use deodorant, baby powder, creams, and other beauty products after surgery. The answer is preferably not.
You should wait at least one week or until your wound has no open areas. You can apply deodorant only after that, according to your doctor’s recommendation.
What do you need at home after prostate surgery?
You may need to change a few things to prepare for prostate surgery recovery time at home.
Make your room and bed accessible
If your room is on the second floor, it is recommended to arrange a comfortable place on the main floor and avoid using stairs.
Be extra careful if you have mobility issues
Patients with previous mobility issues may be particularly difficult to move after surgery and need extra aid. They need to be very careful with falling and losing balance.
Sometimes, a wheelchair or installing handrails can be a good idea for seniors with poor mobility.
Don’t forget fluid intake
Keep a water bottle close by at all times. Remember you must drink plenty of fluids before surgery and post-op prostatectomy.
Tips for recovery
Your doctor will probably give you enough information about it, but here are some prostatectomy recovery tips that will also come in handy:
Recovery time after prostate surgery is not the right moment to make plans. You should plan on who will drive you home, where your bed will be, and what clothes you will wear after prostate surgery.
Follow instructions closely
After prostate removal, your doctor and healthcare team are the only ones who know your intervention’s particularities and what you need to recover faster. Listen to them and follow their instructions.
Don’t wait for the pain to take your pills
You will probably need over-the-counter medications during prostate surgery recovery, and sometimes pain warrants a prescription pain medication.
They should be taken as instructed, even if you don’t feel pain immediately. Otherwise, it could be too late, and you will suffer pain unnecessarily if you miss a dose.
Don’t go overboard
Prostate cancer and BPH surgery have their recovery time, and your doctor will tell you how long it will take. Even if you feel enthusiastic and can do more, take it easy and gradually increase your daily activities.
Try Kegel exercises
These exercises are designed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscle. They are appropriate after prostate surgery and can help you recover your sexual function faster.
Stay in contact with your doctor: They will be the best source of information. Don’t miss any appointments, and program an appointment reminder on your mobile if you tend to forget things.
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Frequently asked questions
Your healthcare provider may help you answer these commonly asked questions during this difficult recovery period.
Should I worry about blood in the urine after prostate surgery (prostatectomy)?
After prostate surgery, and when the catheter is still in place, you will experience some bleeding. Blood in the urine can happen right after surgery or up to 3 weeks after prostatectomy.
The urine can be stained with blood for a few weeks, and that’s not a bad sign unless it is too much blood and your urine looks reddish instead of having a pink hue.
Still, if the color makes you worried, it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor about it.
How much weight can I lift after prostate surgery?
After prostate surgery, you shouldn’t lift weights higher than 10 lbs. You can lift weight after a few weeks, according to your doctor’s recommendations
How soon can I run after prostate surgery?
Exercise is always good, but it usually takes several weeks before you’re fully back on track with exercising. The stamina for running will be back around weeks 6 to 8 of recovery.
Can I have gas pain after prostate surgery?
Yes, and this is more common after laparoscopic or robot-assisted prostate surgery. But it is a transient symptom that only lasts a few days and shouldn’t be very severe.
Can I use Viagra after prostate surgery?
Sildenafil citrate and other aids for erectile dysfunction are usually recommended four weeks after surgery or more. Talk to your doctor about it to get an individualized recommendation.
Is it safe driving a car after prostate surgery?
It is not safe to drive after prostate surgery, and you should wait up to two weeks before you can do that. So, part of your preparation should include getting help from someone to get you back home and do your errands for one or two weeks.
After radical prostatectomy, recovery time depends on the type of procedure and whether you had any complications. After prostate cancer or BPH surgery, many things will change, but those changes will be transient.
Your home should be adapted to your needs. Your bathroom, bed, and kitchen should be close to you and accessible. You should ask someone to drive you back home after surgery and do errands for a few days. You must also buy appropriate clothes to wear during prostate surgery recovery time.
Your clothes should be loose and made with soft fabric to avoid circulation problems, skin irritation, and infections. You should keep in mind that you will have a catheter in place for some time, and your underwear should also be loose and easy to take in and out.
Remember that you will probably need incontinence pads after taking out your catheter. Not all patients need them, but it is always a good idea to have them close to you and ready for any emergency.