For many men with cancer confined to the prostate gland, urologists recommend a radical prostatectomy, in which the prostate gland and some of the tissue around it are removed. Traditionally, the procedure was performed as an open operation, but Washington University urologists can offer the option of a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy to almost every man who is eligible for an open radical prostatectomy.

Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is a minimally invasive operation performed through several small incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon uses a laparoscope – a lighted viewing instrument – to visualize the anatomy and other instruments to reach and remove the prostate.

The advantages of laparoscopic radical prostatectomy over an open prostatectomy include:

  • less time in the operating room – thus, a shorter time under anesthesia
  • reduced blood loss and less risk of a need for a blood transfusion
  • smaller incisions, which result in less pain and a shorter recovery time
  • less need for pain medication
  • shorter hospital stay and a quicker return to everyday routine
  • use of nerve-sparing procedures, preserving urinary and sexual function

Because laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is a technically difficult procedure, patients should look for an experienced urologist to perform the operation. Washington University urologists have a record of excellent results with laparoscopic prostatectomies. They also perform robotic laparoscopic radical prostatectomies, in which the surgeon controls robotic arms to perform the surgery.

In treating prostate cancer patients, our urologists also work closely with other specialists at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Washington University urologists perform laparoscopic radical prostatectomy at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital.

More information on prostate cancer treatment at Siteman Cancer Center.