Activity Before Prostate Surgery

According to a recent study in the journal of BMC Urology, a higher percentage of men participating in high levels of physical activity 5-7 times per week preoperatively had a reduced need for sick leave after radical prostatectomy compared to men with lower physical activity before the same surgery.

“This is great news for all men but certainly for men who are still working and need to miss as few of days as possible after prostate surgery,” said Dr. David Samadi.  “The sooner a man can recover from surgery and be back to normal activities, the better for him in not needing to take as many sick-leave days from work.”

Many studies have shown the benefits of physical therapy soon after a surgical procedure and how it can improve in terms of a shorter hospital stay and recovery time.  This study wanted to explore if preoperative physical activity level had a positive impact on postoperative complications, sick-leave and hospital stay after radical prostatectomy for men with prostate cancer. 

A large prospective controlled Swedish trial called LAPPRO trial (LAParascopic Prostatectomy Robot Open) compared robot-assisted laparoscopic and open surgery for localized prostate cancer between 2008 and 2011.  Participants for this study included 1,569 men aged 64 or less and were still employed.   Fifty-two percent of the men had a Gleason score of <7.

There were four groups the participants were placed in based on their activity level – they were divided between men who “never” exercised; “sometimes” (one to two times a week); “often” (three to four times a week); and “daily or almost daily” (five to seven times a week). 

Men reporting at the highest level of physical activity (daily or almost daily), 13% of them required no sick leave compared to 6.3% in the group with a physical activity level of “sometimes” or only one to two times a week. 

Other outcomes showed 14.9% of men who were physically active “sometimes” felt they had a full recovery at 4 weeks postoperatively compared to 17.5% of men who exercised daily.  Only 10.9% of men exercising daily had still not recovered at 3 months postoperatively compared to 13.4% of men exercising sometimes.

“These findings are significant reinforcing the importance of regular, routine preoperative physical activity positively impacting postoperative outcome,” reinforced Dr. Samadi.  “Men needing surgery for prostate cancer want to get back to work quickly and have a short hospital stay.”

Findings from this study could lead to recommendations for men requiring prostate surgery to increase physical activity prior to the operation.

“I could see making individualized physical activity recommendations before a man undergoes radical prostatectomy,” stated Dr. Samadi.  “It’s not surprising increasing physical activity can have a dramatic difference in terms of a better recovery process after surgery. This saves not only hospital costs but saves a man time spent recovering and more importantly improves the quality of his life.”

Patients newly diagnosed with prostate cancer can contact world renowned prostate cancer surgeon and urologic oncologist, Dr. David Samadi, for a free phone consultation and to learn more about prostate cancer risk, by calling 212-365-5000 or visiting