About 140,000 prostatectomies (surgical removal of all or part of the prostate gland) are performed each year. The diver undergoing such a procedure typically wants to know how soon he can return to scuba after operation.
The primary considerations here are the specific reason for and type of surgery involved. The nature (e.g., severely enlarged prostate v prostate cancer) and surgical treatment (e.g., minimally invasive such as laparoscopy v open surgery) of the disease have significant and particular implications for healing times. Differing surgical approaches understandably involve varying degrees of invasiveness and anticipated healing times. On average, a patient undergoing a partial removal via robotic-assisted laparoscopy is going to be released to full physical activity much more rapidly than one undergoing a radical prostatectomy via open surgery.
Depending on the technique applied and general health of the individual, as a very general rule patients undergoing prostatectomy can expect to go home anywhere from 1-4 days post-surgery. Again as a very general rule, the majority of these patients are back to most normal daily activities within 1-3 weeks, but with activities that involve heavy lifting, as can be the case with scuba, the operated diver would be well-advised to allow 4-6 weeks or more before resuming tank hauling and the like.
And then there may be the consideration of whether chemotherapy, radiation or other treatment(s) will follow the surgery, which will almost certainly extend the time of safe return to diving, sometimes quite significantly.
In the final analysis, diving should not be resumed without specific clearance from the treating surgeon.
This is educational only and does not constitute or imply a doctor-patient relationship. It is not medical advice to you or any other individual, and should not be construed as such.