This is one of the questions I had before going in for prostate surgery. Ok, so my doctor is about to remove my prostate gland, which the biopsy has already said is cancerous. Is he going to slice it up in my body before he takes it out? If so, aren’t some of those cancer cells going to leak out into my body and stay behind even after the cancerous gland is removed? That can’t be a good thing.

For me, the quick answer was – nothing should leak out, and here’s why. (All I can talk about is my case – you have to talk to your doctor about how he handles this.)

When I had robotic prostatectomy, the surgeon removed my prostate gland whole – in one piece. That is, he absolutely did not cut into the gland or slice it up while it was still inside my body. That’s why robotic prostatectomy patients typically have about a 1″ incision around their navel or belly button – it’s where the prostate gland comes out of the body.

On top of that, my surgeon – after he freed up the prostate gland – placed it in a “specimen retrieval bag” or an Endopouch® for transport out of my body. The prostate gland is deposited into the bag and the surgeon then ties off the top of the bag by cinching up a string, so it’s really tightly sealed in the specimen bag. Then and only then is the gland taken out of the body through the umbilicus or belly button.

So I was somewhat surprised – and relieved – that such great care is taken not to “spill” any cancerous cells into the body during radical prostatectomy. They’ve already thought about this problem and have addressed it.

Again, this is what my surgeon did in my specific case. Your surgeon may do the same or perhaps something different. If you decide to choose the surgical option at some point, I think it’s a good idea to ask the question – I did.