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Why would a person need a prostatectomy?

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Quick Answer

Patients undergo a radical prostatectomy to remove all cancer cells produced by prostate cancer, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This type of surgery occurs when doctors believe the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.

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Less common reasons for this type of surgical procedure include recurrent bleeding from the prostate, very slow urination, hydronephrosis, the inability to completely empty the bladder and bladder stones, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hydronephrosis occurs when pressure increases in the ureter and kidneys due to urinary retention. Bladder stones may happen in conjunction with an enlarged prostate gland.

Doctors sometimes perform a radical prostatectomy to relieve a urinary obstruction caused by stage 3 prostate cancer, says WebMD. Men younger than 65 who undergo this type of procedure with stage 1 or stage 2 prostate cancer tend to live longer than those who simply have active surveillance of the disease. Following this surgery, prostate-specific antigen levels drop to nearly zero if all cancer has been removed.

Surgeons most often perform a transurethral resection of the prostate to alleviate symptoms of prostate cancer, according to WebMD. During this procedure, a doctor inserts a thin instrument through the urethra to remove part of the inside of the prostate gland. Complications from a radical prostatectomy include urinary incontinence, erection problems, damage to the urethra and damage to the rectum.

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