Recovery timeline after surgery
Recovery timeline after surgery, that is after radical prostate surgery, varies from person to person depending on how their body heals naturally and the severity of the disease before surgery. Here are some tips to help you with your recovery timeline.
Plan your return home
- After surgery, you will not necessarily have the energy to prepare your meals, carry out your daily tasks, or even bathe yourself. If possible, prepare a few meals and freeze them. You will be able to warm them quickly during your convalescence. Also, ask your loved ones to help you with certain tasks if you need them.
Intervention and hospital stay
- A radical prostatectomy generally requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay of 1 to 4 days. Your doctor will ask you to go for a walk the day or the day after your surgery. You may also be asked to do small exercises while you are in your hospital bed.
Your urinary catheter
- You will leave the hospital with a catheter, a tube inserted into your penis called a urinary catheter, which will drain urine from your bladder to a collection bag for 1 to 2 weeks. It is possible for your urine to be tinged with blood—don’t worry.
- Before you leave, the nurse will teach you how to take proper care of your catheter and will make an appointment with your CLSC to have it removed at the prescribed time. This procedure is painless and lasts only a few seconds.
Organize your transport
- You will not be able to drive to get home. It is, therefore, preferable to arrange for someone to drive you home. Also, please note that you should not drive for at least two weeks following your surgery, much less if you wear a urinary catheter. Do not drive while you are taking pain relievers.
- If you have surgical staples, arrangements will be made with your CLSC to have them removed seven days after your surgery. Butterfly closures can be used to hold the edges of your wound together.
- If the surgeon used absorbable sutures—also known as dissolvable stitches—to close the wound, they will disappear on their own after 4–6 weeks. Keep the butterfly closures on for 15 days after the operation.
Maintain good hygiene
- Only take showers until the incisions have healed (approximately 2 weeks).
- You can shower as soon as your drain is removed and there has been no discharge from your wound in 48 hours.
Resuming your activities
Resuming to your activities at home
- Continue to take walks several times a day. Progressively increase the distance you walk until you are back at your normal activity level. Most patients do not have many exercise restrictions.
- Avoid lifting 5-10 pounds (2-4 kg) objects for at least 4 weeks to reduce the risk of hernia.
- You can start having non-strenuous sex at the end of the 3rd week after your surgery. Do not have vigorous sex before the 6th week.
- Baths, spas, or pools are not allowed for at least 4 months following surgery. Your doctor needs to give you the green light first.
Your return to work
- Your surgeon will decide when you can return to work. This will depend on your recovery and the type of work you do.
- You will probably return to work a few weeks after your surgery on the condition that you do not lift any heavy objects.
- Wait 6 weeks before doing any demanding sports or abrupt movements (ex.: tennis, badminton, jogging, and downhill skiing) and when you do, do it gradually.
- If you are a cycling enthusiast and your surgery has gone well, there are no post-surgery complications, and you recover your continence well, you could back in the saddle 8 to 12 weeks after the operation. It is always best to ask your doctor for the green light.
- After the surgery, practically every man experiences a transitory period of urinary incontinence. This period can last for several weeks up to a few months (average 3 to 6 months). For some men, patience will be required, since recovery may take longer (6 to 9 months) and even up to 2 years. It varies from one person to the next depending on the degree of their disease, age, and state of health. In most cases, urinary incontinence disappears with time and with specific exercises such as Kegels.
- A certain percentage of men regain erectile function 6 to 36 months after surgery. The speed with which sexual function improves depends on pre-operative sexual function, age, general health, and the preservation of the erectile nerves during surgery.
Your follow-up appointment
- You should see your urologist 4–6 weeks after you are discharged from the hospital. After this first appointment, you will see your urologist at regular intervals (3–6 months). Take this opportunity to talk to your doctor if you have any problems or concerns about your recovery, resuming your activities, side effects, etc.
Take the time to visit each of our pages on this website, as well as our YouTube channel, in order to get familiar with the disease with our expert lectures, our section on available resources, the support that is offered to you.
Do you have any questions or concerns? Above all, do not hesitate. Contact us at 1 855 899-2873 to discuss with a nurse specializing in uro-oncology. It's simple and free, like all our services.
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