Radical prostatectomy (removal of the prostate gland) is one of the most common treatments for localized prostate cancer. In additional to laparoscopic and robotic methods of performing a radical prostatectomy, surgeons at Chesapeake Urology also perform Radical Perineal Prostatectomy (RPP).
What is Radical Perineal Prostatectomy?
Radical Perineal Prostatectomy is the surgical removal of the prostate and seminal vesicles through a small incision in the perineum, the area between the anus and the scrotum. The perineum is the most direct route to the prostate gland. Radical perineal prostatectomy is for patients with localized prostate cancer (prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the gland).
Advantages of Radical Perineal Prostatectomy
RPP provides patients with several advantages including:
- Shorter operating time than robotic prostatectomy
- Short hospital stay (typically one day)
- Low blood loss
- Equally low rate of surgical complications compared to robotic prostatectomy
- Short recovery period
- Lower rates of urinary incontinence (equal to incontinence rates of other approaches)
- Preservation of erectile function – About 65% of Chesapeake Urology patients maintain erectile function following RPP; most remaining patients achieve normal erections through medication management or minimally invasive treatment options.
How Radical Perineal Prostatectomy is Performed
RPP is performed under general anesthesia and typically takes about 90 minutes to perform. A single inverted U-shaped incision (about 2 inches) is made in the perineum through which the surgeon inserts special instruments used to remove the prostate gland and the seminal vesicles. A high powered telescopic lens provides the surgeon with excellent visualization of the prostate during the procedure.
After the prostate is removed, the incision in the perineum is sutured. A urethral catheter is placed in the bladder prior to closing the incision to allow for urine drainage, which stays in place for one week. A separate catheter or drain will also be inserted in the surgical site to drain any fluids from this area during the hospital stay.
What To Expect Before and After Surgery
Before your procedure:
- Prior to surgery, you will need to have pre-surgical tests performed
- The night before surgery, you will be instructed to follow only a clear liquid diet in addition to using a bowel preparation kit to completely clear your bowels
- Pain is typically minimal after surgery. You will be given pain medication as needed for post-operative pain.
- A urinary catheter to drain urine from your bladder will stay in place for one week following surgery
- A surgical drain at the incision will be placed to drain any fluids and is removed prior to leaving the hospital
- One day after surgery, you will begin walking to encourage blood flow and help with the healing process
- Most patients are discharged one day after surgery
Learn more about what to expect following radical prostatectomy here.
Candidates for Radical Perineal Prostatectomy
RPP is typically a good option for most men because the perineum is the most direct route to the prostate. This procedure is also beneficial for men who:
- Have had prior abdominal surgery resulting in post-operative scarring
- Have had a kidney transplant or previous hernia surgery
- Are obese
Side Effects of RPP
Minimally invasive surgery including RPP presents a number of benefits to patients and usually poses less risk of post-operative complications such as bleeding, infection and pain. However, as in any surgical procedure, risks and complications can occur.
Rare side effects of RPP may include:
- Urinary incontinence
- Erectile dysfunction
Meet The Physicians Who Perform Radical Perineal Prostatectomy at Chesapeake Urology
Robert Chiaramonte, M.D.
Dr. Chiaramonte practices general urology and had has special interest in minimally invasive prostate surgery, including radical perineal prostatectomy, endourological stone surgery, erectile dysfunction, and urologic cancer treatment.
Thomas Huisman, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Dr. Huisman has extensive training in prostate surgery, endourology and management and treatment of stone disease, as well as the treatment of prostate cancer with minimally invasive surgery, brachytherapy. He pioneered the techniques of radical perineal prostatectomy and brachytherapy at Southern Maryland Hospital Center.