OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this review was to critically analyze, interpret, and synthesize the literature on men's experiences after prostatectomy.
DESIGN: A meta-synthesis was conducted.
DATA SOURCES: Six databases (PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, AgeLine, and Sociological Abstract) were searched from the earliest year to 2016. From initial searches with main keywords (prostatectomy and qualitative study), 642 abstracts were retrieved. Based on inclusion criteria (English-language published qualitative study focusing on the experience of men after prostatectomy), this meta-synthesis included 15 studies.
REVIEW METHODS: Components of meta-study (meta-data-analysis, meta-method, and meta-theory) were employed to analyze, interpret, and synthesize the results of included studies. Three authors independently appraised the methodological quality of the included studies using a combined appraisal tool (The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Qualitative Research Checklist and Paterson et al.'s Primary Research Appraisal Tool). The Enhancing Transparency in Reporting the Synthesis of Qualitative Research Statement was used to strengthen the completeness of reporting.
RESULTS: Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria and quality appraisal guidelines, however, most did not identify or relate their findings to theory. Through meta-synthesis, five themes emerged: facing a life-changing situation, experiencing changes and their impact, striving to manage and adjust to changes, coping with masculinity, and anticipating the future.
CONCLUSIONS: After prostatectomy, men experienced physical, psychological, and social changes. Many men are physically and psychologically ill-prepared and suffer from lack of information and support. Health care providers need to be sensitive to men's needs including perceptions of masculinity, realize the importance of support as an essential component of men's adaptation post-prostatectomy, and provide comprehensive and individualized patient-centered interventions. Future studies need to use rigorous research methods, clearly identify methodological approaches, and consider employing or developing theory.