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Urology Surgery

What is Urology?

Urology is a surgical specialty focusing on the urinary tract system and male reproductive system. The urinary tract removes waste and extra fluid from the body. It includes the kidneys, thin muscular tubes called ureters, bladder, and urethra. The male reproductive system includes the prostate gland, penis, and testicles. It deals with sex characteristics and reproduction.

Urologists diagnose and treat all conditions affecting these systems. This can include infections, blockages, cancers, enlargements, incontinence, and sexual problems. They have expertise in medical management as well as surgical treatments when needed.

Common Urological Conditions

Some common conditions that may lead a urologist to recommend surgery include:

Extra prostate tissue can block urine flow and cause frequent or difficult urination.

Cancerous cells in the prostate can spread if not treated.

Hard deposits blocking urine flow and causing severe pain.

Abnormal bladder cell growth that often recurs and spreads.

Leaking urine or inability to control urges. Caused by factors like pregnancy, menopause, prostate issues, etc.

Inability to achieve or maintain an erection for sexual activity.

Types of Urological Surgeries

Open Surgery

In open surgery, the surgeon makes a large 5-10 inch incision in the lower abdomen or side to access the organs directly. The organs can then be fully visualized and operated on. However, open surgery typically requires a longer hospitalization, recovery period, and increased pain compared to minimally invasive techniques.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery aims to avoid a major incision through delicate areas. Instead, it’s performed through a few small 0.5-1 inch incisions. Special cameras and instruments are inserted through the incisions. This approach can result in shorter hospital stays, less pain, low blood loss, and faster recovery.

Laparoscopic Surgery

In laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon operates while viewing a magnified screen. Long rigid instruments with scissors, graspers, etc are used. The CO2 gas inflating the abdomen can occasionally cause post-op shoulder pain.

Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Robotic-assisted surgery uses the da Vinci Surgical System. This provides a 3D view and dexterous miniaturized instruments that mimic the motion of a wrist. The surgeon sits at a console controlling the instruments remotely.

Common Urological Surgeries

Complete prostate gland removal for cancer. Performed both openly and robotically.

Removal of just the diseased part of a kidney. Done for early cancers or tumors.

Removing the entire bladder as well as surrounding lymph nodes and organs impacted by advanced bladder cancer.

Kidney drainage procedure to remove an abnormal blockage between the kidney and ureter.

Procedure to reattach or reposition one or both ureters into the bladder. Done for reflux, obstruction, injury, etc.

Finding a Qualified Surgeon

Choosing your surgeon is an important decision. Look for the following qualifications:

Do not hesitate to ask questions and interview potential surgeons before choosing the one you trust.

Preparing for Surgery

In the weeks before your surgery, you’ll need to:

  • Get preoperative tests and clearance from your primary doctor
  • Stop medications that can increase bleeding like aspirin, ibuprofen, supplements, etc.
  • Take antibiotics as prescribed to prevent infection
  • Adjust diet and activities as recommended
  • Arrange for someone to drive you to and from the hospital
  • Set up assistance during initial recovery period

Follow all instructions closely leading up to your procedure. This helps avoid delays or cancellation.

Recovering After Surgery

  • Hospital stay is typically 1-3 days after minimally invasive urologic surgery.
  • Medications will manage postoperative pain and nausea while tubes drain fluid.
  • Move carefully to promote healing and prevent blood clots.
  • Refrain from strenuous activity, lifting, and driving for 4-6 weeks.
  • Expect some swelling, bruising, and numbness at incision sites.
  • Attend all follow-up visits as directed. Report concerning symptoms promptly.
  • Normal urinary, sexual, and daily life activities can resume gradually in the weeks after surgery.
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