What is a prostatectomy?

Radical Prostatectomy

A prostatectomy is a surgical procedure for the partial or complete removal of the prostate. It may be performed to treat prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia.

A common surgical approach to prostatectomy includes making a surgical incision and removing the prostate gland (or part of it). This may be accomplished with either of two methods, the retropubic or suprapubic incision (lower abdomen), or a perineum incision (through the skin between the scrotum and the rectum).

Prior to having a prostatectomy, it’s often necessary to have a prostate biopsy. Please see this procedure for additional information.

Since the early 20th century, radical prostatectomy has been used in the treatment of prostate cancer. However, before the widespread acceptance of prostate-specific antigen screening, the majority of cancers were clinically advanced and not amenable to cure, so relatively few men were candidates for this procedure. Modern advances have contributed dramatically to the reduction of complications and morbidity associated with radical prostatectomy. As a result, the procedure has become the most common treatment selected by men with localized prostate cancer. This article reviews several issues regarding radical prostatectomy, including surgical techniques, cancer control, intraoperative localization of the cavernous nerves, patient selection, and laparoscopic versus robotic approaches.