The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and sits just below the bladder inside the male pelvis region. The function of the prostate is to secrete a fluid to form semen and to help in ejaculation. Conditions such as prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) may require the removal of the prostate. A prostatectomy is the surgical removal of the prostate gland. As with all medical procedures, there are risks and complications associated with the surgery.
According to the American Cancer Society, the area around the prostate gland has many blood vessels. If damage occurs to any of the vessels during the operation, bleeding is a possible complication. If the blood loss is severe, a blood transfusion will be necessary during the surgery.
After the prostatectomy, an individual may experience urinary incontinence. The incontinence may occur in several different forms. The American Cancer Society states that stress incontinence is the most common following the operation. This incontinence causes a leakage of urine after pressure from activities such as coughing and exercising.
Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder does not empty properly. The common symptoms associated with this condition include having to take a long time to urinate while the flow is low. A blockage caused by scar tissue is a common reason for this condition.
Urge incontinence may also occur. A feeling of needing to urinate immediately signifies it. As a rare complication from the surgery, some men may experience complete incontinence where they have no control over urinating.
An infection at the surgical wound is a possible complication after a prostatectomy. The incision, located in the pelvis, or beneath the scrotum, may look swollen, red or have drainage. All are signs of an infection at the surgical site. A fever and increased pain are also symptoms of an infection. Men may also experience a urinary tract infection following surgery.
Because of the prostate function and location, men may lose the ability to have an erection. The Mayo Clinic reports this condition may be permanent for many men. Some men may also experience a dry orgasm, meaning they do not produce any ejaculate with an orgasm. The loss of ejaculation also makes men infertile, by natural means, after a prostatectomy.
Decrease in Penis Size
According to the American Cancer Society, men may lose some length in penis after the surgery. A 15-percent or larger decrease in length occurs in 20 percent of men.