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Incontinence After Prostate Surgery

Incontinence after prostate surgery is a concern shared by many patients facing prostate cancer surgery. We have consistently demonstrated superior outcomes with respect to urinary continence. Radical robotic-assisted prostatectomy's innovative technique offers many benefits to patients, such as:

  • Minimized damage to the urinary sphincter
  • Maximum urethra length to reduce leakage
  • An accurate water-tight reconnection of the bladder to the urethra (anastomosis) with less scarring
  • Precise dissection and suturing

Recovery from incontinence after prostate surgery is unique to every patient, but rarely takes more than 3 months. Most men regain urinary control within 3 months. In fact, very few men experience long-term incontinence after prostate surgery.

What You Need to Know about Radical Prostatectomy Incontinence

  • A catheter will be inserted during surgery. When you return to the clinic to have it removed in 4-6 days after prostate surgery, you will be given a protective pad. (This is compared to an average of 14 days with traditional prostatectomy.)
  • Upon removal of the catheter, you will need to retrain the muscles that control the flow of urine. Be sure to urinate often and as soon as you feel the urge.
  • Walking and Kegel exercises will help strengthen the pelvic floor. 300 Kegel exercises a day are recommended until total bladder control is achieved.
  • Many patients are dry and do not need pads one week following surgery. However, you may want to wear a bladder control pad in the initial post-operative period to deal with temporary incontinence after prostate surgery.
  • When you begin to regain continence, you will typically remain dry throughout the night at first. The second phase encompasses night and early morning control. Finally, you will remain dry night and day.
  • Drink plenty of water. Adequate fluid intake will assist in optimum bladder health.
  • Factors associated with return of continence:
    • Pre-operative urinary function
    • Aggressiveness of cancer
    • Type of nerve sparing
    • Prior bladder surgery
    • Presence of median lobe or enlarged prostate
    • Adherence to kegal exercise regimen
    • Strength of pelvic floor 
    • Other factors

Please remember that overcoming incontinence after prostate surgery will vary from one man to the next. Do your exercises, be patient, and be sure to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about radical prostatectomy incontinence and your progress. At Florida Hospital, post-operative care and patient satisfaction are critical components of the treatment process.

Quickly Achieving Urinary Continence


Continence, Potency and Oncologic Outcomes after Robotic-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy: The Search for the Trifecta – Early Results

Vipul R Patel; Rafael F. Coelho, Sanket Chauhan, Marcelo A. Orvieto, Kenneth J Palmer, Bernardo Rocco, Geoff Coughlin

Submitted to BJU International, May 2010