We assess pain and quality of life following radical retropubic prostatectomy and determine whether intraoperative anesthetic management has any long-term effects on outcomes.Materials and Methods
A total of 110 patients undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy were randomly assigned to receive epidural and/or general anesthesia. Patients responded to a questionnaire mailed 3 and 6 months following surgery that assessed prostate symptoms, pain related to surgery, quality of life and mood.Results
No long-term effects of anesthesia were observed. Of the 103 respondents (94%) at 3 months 49% had some pain related to surgery. Although pain was not related to anesthetic technique, patients who had it at 3 months used significantly more pain medication on postoperative day 3. Pain at 3 months was mild, averaging 1.5 on a scale of 0 to 10, and associated with poor perceptions of overall health (p <0.02), and reduced physical (p <0.01) and social (p <0.01) functioning. Pain at 3 months was associated with higher levels of preoperative anxiety (p <0.05). At 6 months 36 of 90 patients (35%) had some pain related to surgery and the impact was similar.Conclusions
Long-term effects of intraoperative anesthesic technique were not apparent. Mild pain following radical retropubic prostatectomy was common and associated with reduced quality of life, particularly social functioning. Affective distress, particularly anxiety, before surgery and use of pain medications following surgery may be predictors of chronic pain following radical retropubic prostatectomy.