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Eur Urol. 2002 Aug;42(2):118-24.

Patient-reported sexual function after nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Hamburg, Martinistrasse 52, 20246, Hamburg, Germany. noldus@uke.uni-hamburg.de



Improved selection criteria have lead to an increasing number of nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomies (RRP) in patients with clinically localised prostate cancer (PCA). Patient questionnaire based outcome analysis on post-operative erectile function after uni- or bilateral nerve-sparing RRP is described.


Between January 1992 and March 1999, 366 patients (mean age 62.5 years) underwent uni- or bilateral nerve-sparing RRP at our institution. Indication for nerve-sparing procedure was based on the results of a multivariate classification and regression tree analysis (CART). For evaluation of post-operative patient-reported rates of sexual and erectile function non-validated and validated questionnaires (IIEF 5) were administered after a follow-up of 12 months. Data of five operation periods were analysed.


The unilateral procedure resulted in rates of 13-29% of erections sufficient for unassisted intercourse. Some degree of tumescence was reported by 37-73% of the remaining patients. Bilateral nerve-sparing procedures were almost exclusively performed in periods 3-5, only four patients of period 2 received the bilateral procedure. Here, rates of erections sufficient for intercourse were 25% (period 2), 61% (period 3), 50% (period 4), and 52% (period 5), respectively. Patients with grades 4 and 5 erections had IIEF scores of 19.2 and 20.2 and patients without rigidity or tumescence had scores of 5.7 and 7.0 after uni- and bilateral nerve-sparing procedure, respectively. Patients <60 years of age had better erections than those > or =60 (unilateral: 19% versus 13%, bilateral 45% versus 38%).


Compared to a unilateral nerve-sparing procedure, the bilateral nerve-sparing technique revealed much better results inasmuch as about 50% of the patients reported recovery of erections sufficient for sexual intercourse without use of sexual aids.

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