Laser surgery is an increasingly widely-used technique in men who were diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia, an enlargement of the prostate that occurs in most men, to some degree, with age. Compared to traditional prostate surgery methods, prostate laser surgery has some distinct advantages. They include a lower risk of serious post-surgery bleeding, a much shorter hospital stay or the possibility of being treated on an outpatient basis, a significantly reduced need for a urinary catheter, and a much quicker recovery.
Nonetheless, prostate laser surgery, though delivered through concentrated beams of light that either vaporize or cut off excess prostate tissue rather than with a scalpel, is surgery. All forms of surgery carry some degree of risk, and all forms of surgery depend on you — the patient — to follow the appropriate aftercare guidelines delivered by your surgeon to the letter.
What To Expect Post-Surgery
Men who have just undergone prostate laser surgery will have a catheter in place. That is because, although your excess prostate tissue was removed during the procedure, the procedure also inevitably led to some swelling that can make passing urine temporarily very difficult.
It is best to use a catheter for as short as possible, as having one in place for longer increases your risk of developing a urinary tract infection. If, however, after catheter removal you are still unable to urinate naturally, the catheter will be replaced with a new one. After swelling goes down, you will be able to urinate normally. Most men who have prostate laser surgery do not need a catheter for more than 24 hours.
Men who have prostate laser surgery will also bleed from their urethra for days or even a few weeks, and they may experience burning sensations, some discomfort, and a need to urinate more frequently now that the pressure the excess prostate tissue was putting on your bladder has been removed.
What You Need To Know About Your Recovery Period
Following your prostate laser surgery, your surgeon will give you a few essential guidelines. Those guidelines will include taking medications — we're mainly talking about antibiotics here — exactly as prescribed, and finishing the full course. Though bleeding from your urethra is only to be expected after your procedure, and this bleeding may continue for several days to even several weeks, you'll also receive instructions on when to come back in. Bleeding that gets worse rather than better, passing clots, and blood that is very thick are all situations that warrant a timely follow-up visit.
Besides those instructions, your surgeon will tell you to take it easy after your surgery, for a set amount of time depending on the exact form of prostate laser surgery you underwent. Yep, that means sitting on the couch or lying in bed reading newspapers or browsing the web, not engaging in exercise, heavy lifting, marathons, or sexual intercourse!
Following these instructions will contribute to a timely recovery and prevent complications. If, however, you have (inadvertently) done something your surgeon told you not to do, and especially if you are experiencing more pain and discomfort after that act, you do need to immediately check in with your surgeon... and then listen to their further advice!
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