RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
Open prostatectomy can cause temporary problems after surgery and can also cause long-term side effects or complications. Risks of open prostatectomy include:
- Incontinence. In some men, open prostatectomy causes loss of bladder control and an urgent need to urinate. In most cases, this gets better after several weeks to several months.
- Dry orgasm. Open prostatectomy causes retrograde ejaculation, which means the semen released during sexual climax (ejaculation) enters your bladder rather than exiting the penis. It isn't harmful and generally doesn't affect sexual pleasure, but it can interfere with your ability to father a child.
- Urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections are a possible complication after any enlarged prostate procedure. An infection is increasingly likely to occur the longer you have a catheter in place and may require antibiotics or other treatment.
- Erectile dysfunction. In some cases, open prostatectomy causes erectile dysfunction — the inability to maintain an erection firm enough to have sex. In some men erectile function can improve over time, but in many men it's permanent.
- Narrowing (stricture) of the urethra or bladder neck. Sometimes surgery narrows the tube that carries urine from the bladder (urethra), or the area where the urethra attaches to the bladder (bladder neck). This can make urination difficult and may require additional treatment to correct.
- Heavy bleeding. Some men lose enough blood during open prostatectomy to require a blood transfusion. You may store your own blood ahead of time in case this occurs, or you may be given donor blood if needed. In some cases, bleeding occurs after surgery and requires further treatment.
- Guideline on the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Linthicum, Md.: American Urological Association. http://www.auanet.org/content/guidelines-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines.cfm?sub=bph. Accessed Jan. 27, 2011.
- Han M. Retropubic and suprapubic open prostatectomy. In: Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/128042617-3/0/1445/92.html?tocnode=54305512&fromURL=92.html. Accessed March 25, 2011.
- Thiel DD, et al. Electroresection and open surgery. Urologic Clinics of North America. 2009;36:461.
- Matlaga BR, et al. Surgery for benign prostatic hypertrophy. In: Graham SD, et al. Glenn's Urologic Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010:166.