Common Questions: The Procedure
Are cardiovascular problems among the prostate cancer treatment complications?
Before making any decision, all patients should ask about possible prostate cancer treatment complications. The items in this section are a few of the possible prostate cancer treatment complications as they relate primarily to prostate cancer surgery with laparoscopic radical prostatectomy; they relate also to open radical retropubic prostatectomy, which we do not offer. The items in this section do not relate as directly to treatment complications seen with radiation treatment, prostate brachytherapy, cryosurgery, hormone treatments, and chemotherapy for prostate cancer; these prostate cancer treatments are also associated with various possible complications.
Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is major surgery and is done under general anesthesia. Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is associated with the risk of cardiovascular complications: heart attack, stroke and death. This risk varies with many variables, including illness such as diabetes, obesity, smoking history, and the like. Given the relatively little bleeding seen with LRP -- in our hands an average of 50 ccs per case -- the risk is low.
Still, we take numerous precautions to lower the risk for all patients. For example, all patients receive blood thinners (low-molecular weight heparin) before surgery. When indicated, patients heading for laparoscopic radical prostatectomy are evaluated first with an exercise stress test.